A journalist has been sentenced to five years in a Saudi Arabian prison for "insulting the rulers of the country" and "ridiculing Islamic religious figures".
Alaa Brinji was convicted by Saudi Arabia's counter-terrorism court, known as the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), for tweets he posted in support of Saudi Arabian women's right to drive cars, human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.
Mr Brinji has also been given an eight-year travel ban and a fine of 50,000 Saudi riyals (around £9,500). The court ordered the closure of his twitter account.
He was arrested on 12 May, 2014, and has been in detention since. He was initially held in solitary confinement and has not been allowed access to a lawyer, according to Amnesty international.
His offences originally included the act of "apostasy," which is considered a serious crime in Saudi Arabia and carries the death penalty, but he was not convicted due to lack of evidence.
Juveniles on death row in Saudi Arabia
Juveniles on death row in Saudi Arabia
1/8 Abdullah al-Zaher
Abdullah al-Zaher was arrested at the age of 15 for attending a protest and he is was the youngest in a group of juvenile offenders put on death row
2/8 Abdullah al-Zaher
Previously held alongside fellow juvenile offender Ali al-Nimr, whose case sparked outrage around the world, Abdullah has now been moved to solitary confinement at a new facility and could be beheaded at any moment
3/8 Abdullah al-Zaher
His family and lawyers believe he was forced to sign a document without knowing its contents, and which later was used as a “confession” in the closed trial against him
4/8 Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr faces imminent beheading and crucifixion for crimes he reportedly committed as a child
5/8 Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
The UN has issued an urgent call for Saudi Arabia to halt his execution but a Saudi court has upheld the sentence of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, the son of a prominent government dissident, despite growing and high-level international condemnation
6/8 Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
Mr al-Nimr, who was arrested in 2012 for his participation in Arab Spring protests when he was just 16 or 17 years old, could now be put to death at any time
7/8 Dawood al-Marhoon
Dawood al-Marhoon was 17 year old when he was arrested for participating in an anti-government protest
8/8 Dawood al-Marhoon
After refusing to spy on his fellow protesters, he was tortured and forced to sign a blank document that would later contain his ‘confession’. At Dawood’s trial, the prosecution requested death by crucifixion while refusing him a lawyer
James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said: “The sentencing of Alaa Brinji to a five year prison term is utterly shameful.
“He is the latest victim of Saudi Arabia’s ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent, where the aim appears to be to completely wipe out any and all voices of criticism.
“Saudi Arabia must be held accountable for its gross and systematic violations of human rights.
“Its international allies, who seek to collaborate on security and intelligence, have to confront the fact that using the pretext of 'counter-terrorism’, the government's draconian crackdown has eradicated virtually all forms of peaceful dissent in the country.”
Earlier this month, Saudi writer Mohanna Abdulaziz al-Hubail was sentenced in absentia to six years in prison, followed by a travel ban of equal length.
He was convicted of a series of offences, including "insulting the state and its rulers" and inciting and taking part in demonstrations calling for the release of prisoners of conscience.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia executed the 76th person to be put to death in the country on 24 March.
The rate of executions has dramatically increased since the accession of King Salman in January, 2015.Reuse content