Saudi Arabian Gets 8 Years for Twitter Protest Call

Unidentified defendant convicted of inciting 'families of those arrested for security reasons to protest by publishing Tweets and videos on YouTube.'

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Haaretz
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Haaretz

Saudi Arabia sentenced a person to eight years for inciting protests, mocking King Abdullah and coming out in criticism against the security services on Twitter, AFP reported.

The unidentified defendant was convicted of inciting "families of those arrested for security reasons to protest by publishing Tweets and videos on YouTube, the the official SPA news agency cited justice ministry spokesman Fahd bin Abdullah al-Bakran as saying.

In addition, the defendant was found guilty of "mocking" the monarch, the judiciary and religious scholars and of criticizing the security services over arrests of "promoters of extremist ideology."

The court also handed the defendant an eight-year travel ban, and and banned them from posting on social media, AFP reported.

The defendant had been arrested on similar charges in the past, but was freed by security forces after signing a declaration that they would refrain from such activities in the future.

Two days prior to the sentencing, the Saudi interior ministry released a list of groups it deems as terrorist, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nusra Front , Hezbollah and the Syria-based Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The ministry said that people who back these groups "financially or morally," or who promote them on social media or the mainstream media, will be prosecuted. The Saudi ministry also forbids participation in, calling for, or incitement to fighting in conflict zones in other countries" as well as calling people to demonstrate or taking part in them, AFP said.

Last month, King Abdullah decreed it a crime for Saudi nationals to fight in foreign conflicts. The move was largely aimed at curbing extremist Saudis fighting alongside Syrian rebels. Volunteers from across the Sunni Muslim world have joined Syrian rebel groups, in particular an Al-Qaida breakaway faction.

Last week, a Saudi Arabian court sentenced three men to death and jailed two others for up to 17 years for their part in a series of militant attacks including the deadly bombing of a foreign housing compound in 2003.

SPA said that, among other charges, a man identified by the court as "suspect number one" was convicted of involvement in the bombing of the al-Muhaya compound, where expatriates lived, in the capital Riyadh, one of a series of Al-Qaida attacks in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia faced a militant insurgency from 2003 to 2006 in which Al-Qaida targeted residential compounds for foreign workers and Saudi government facilities, killing dozens of people. The country set up terrorism courts in 2011 to try dozens of Saudi nationals and foreigners suspected of involvement.

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