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Saudi Human Rights Lawyer Waleed Abulkhair Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Profile photo for Waleed Abulkhair's Twitter account @WaleedAbulkhair.

Profile photo for Waleed Abulkhair's Twitter account @WaleedAbulkhair.

Waleed Abulkhair, a prominent Saudi human rights defender, was sentenced to 15 years in prison today. He was convicted under a new anti-terrorism law introduced in the absolute monarchy for charges like “insulting general order” and “inflaming public opinion”.

It comes despite an outcry from NGOs globally less than two months after his brother-in-law Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for establishing a website.

Abulkhair, who is the head of the “Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia” organisation, has more than 76,000 followers on @WaleedAbulkhair. After his sentence this account tweeted, quoting him:

Blogger Ahmed Al-omran clarifyied what the charges are:

Abulkhair has been in prison since April 16. Activists say the new 15-year sentence overturns an earlier three-month sentence. Academic researcher Dr. Madawi Alrasheed tweeted to her 181,000 followers denouncing the sentence:

In what creed does an imprisonment sentence change from 3 months to 15 years?

Twitter user Bander Qedeer wrote under the very active hash tag #وليد_أبوالخير, which translates to Waleed Abulkhair:

Ideologist extremists who take up arms and go to fight will be rehabilitated, counseled and released while those who write and criticise will get lengthy sentences… you are giving the people tough options

Abulkhair will not appeal the sentence, tweeted CNN's international correspondent Mohammed Jamjoom to his 18,600 followers:

This new development is part of Saudi Arabia's continuous crackdown on human rights activists which has escalated widely since the beginning of this year.

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