A U.S. citizen who’s furthermore a Saudi national is jam to be tried by a counter-terrorism court in Saudi Arabia that has been ancient to imprison rights activists
AYA BATRAWY and ERIC TUCKER Linked Press
September 30, 2020, 2: 03 PM
5 min learn
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A U.S. citizen who’s furthermore a Saudi national is jam to be tried in Saudi Arabia on Thursday by a counter-terrorism court that has been ancient to imprison rights activists in a case that may possibly perhaps also spark additional tensions in already uneasy U.S.-Saudi members of the family.
Al-Haidar, who has a household dwelling in Vienna, Virginia, is going by technique of between eight and 33 years in jail for alleged Twitter posts criticizing the Saudi government, in step with of us with files of his case, alongside side a U.S. official acutely aware of the case who insisted on anonymity to focus on it with The Linked Press.
His mother is the prominent Saudi girls’s rights activist Aziza al-Yousef, who’s amongst nearly a dozen girls on trial for costs related to their activism, similar to pushing for the suitable to power earlier than the ban on girls became as soon as lifted in mid-2018. Al-Yousef, a grandmother and aged college professor, became as soon as launched from jail the week earlier than her son’s arrest. She and others luxuriate in advised a Saudi criminal court they were abused during interrogations, alongside side being waterboarded, overwhelmed with canes and electrocuted. She has been barred from leaving the kingdom, regardless of holding everlasting residency within the U.S.
The crackdown on perceived critics of the federal government has intensified below Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who continues to face criticism over the killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inner the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in gradual 2018. Since Khashoggi’s raze, the imprisonment of the girls activists and others in Saudi Arabia has drawn frequent condemnation from individuals of Congress, the British Parliament and others.
Representatives of a congressional delegation in Virginia, the attach al-Haidar has speedy household, are pressing the U.S. Sigh Department to ship personnel to see his trial and to make sure transparency to the extent that the Saudis allow it, the U.S. official mentioned.
“We speed you to get the unconditional and speedy initiate of Mr. al-Haidar and facilitate his and Ms. al-Yousef’s return to the United States. We furthermore speed you to retain out the identical for all other U.S. voters being held in Saudi prisons over allegations concerning to nonetheless dissent,” the Virginia representatives mentioned within the letter, which became as soon as furthermore addressed to the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Princess Reema bint Bandar.
The Trump administration has been criticized by Democrats for now not pressing Saudi Arabia adequate on its human rights file, as an different prioritizing lucrative Saudi weapons presents and the kingdom’s tacit make stronger for Gulf Arab normalization with Israel.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington failed to actual now respond to an AP ask for commentary on the case.
The If fact be told knowledgeable Criminal Court in Riyadh presiding over his trial is infamous for its secretive nature. Per a 53-page file launched earlier this year by Amnesty Global, the court has been ancient as “a weapon of repression” to imprison nonetheless critics, activists, journalists, clerics and minority Shiite Muslims, alongside side some who were sentenced to demise and accomplished.
A quantity of cases are introduced earlier than the court below broadly worded counter-terrorism prison pointers that criminalize acts similar to insulting the federal government and “disobeying the ruler.”
The federal government contends that the truly excellent court follows the identical rules and procedures of different criminal courts and that defendants, their legal professionals and households may possibly even be conceal during hearings. On the opposite hand, Amnesty Global mentioned it had documented hundreds of cases of trials held in secret. Makes an strive at appealing the court’s judgements were additional performed within the help of closed doors, with out the presence or participation of defendants or their legal professionals.
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A person with files of the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk referring to the matter, mentioned al-Haidar has now not been allowed to meet with his attorney to talk referring to the costs he faces.
Al-Haidar, 35, has been imprisoned since his arrest 17 months ago in Saudi Arabia, the attach his associate and two-year mature son reside.
Tucker, AP Nationwide Security author, reported from Washington.
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