Saudi Arabia Insists on Death Penalty for Islamic Scholar

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is insisting on executing popular Islamic Scholar and human rights activist Salman al-Awdah who was imprisoned about a year ago.

His family informed the media that public prosecutors in Saudi Arabia were actively pursuing the death penalty for the prominent scholar; local media as well as human rights activists in the Kingdom have also confirmed the allegation.

Largely described by the United Nations as a reformist, Awdah was arrested and jailed a year ago after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a kingdom wide crackdown on dissent while it imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the its Gulf nation neighbour, Qatar.

It was gathered according to reports that Awdah had been arrested shortly after the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar started.

Awdah had tweeted on social media;

“May God harmonise between their hearts for the good of their people.”

That tweet was viewed as an apparent call for reconciliation between both countries which did not go down well with Saudi authorities.

Read: Do Not Send Rescued Migrants Back to Libya – United Nations

Local media reported that Saudi public prosecutors leveled a 37 count charge against the Islamic scholar and prayed the court to grant the death penalty.

Some of the charges against the revered scholar include incitement against the rulers, spreading discord, critical tweets and establishing an organisation that worked to defend the honour of the Prophet.

Awdah’s son took to twitter to shed more light on the charges against his father;

“Today, at a court hearing for my father Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, the prosecution requested the death penalty against him, and submitted 37 charges, one of which was establishing the al-Nusra organisation in Kuwait to defend the Prophet (PBUH), and being a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the International Union of Muslim scholars, with other charges related to his tweets on Twitter.”

Reacting to the news, Amnesty International said through its Saudi Arabia campaigner Dana Ahmed said the reports have become a disturbing trend in the Saudi Arabia that every peaceful dissent and expression against state policies will be met with the death penalty.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute Monarchy where public protests and dissent is banned. The increase in dissent of human rights groups and individuals within the kingdom has led to a massive crackdown on dissent in the country with dozens of religious leaders, intellectuals and women’s rights activists arrested since 2017.

Saudi public prosecutors had also requested for the death penalty for five human rights activists from the kingdom’s Eastern Province last month.

The activists included a women’s rights advocate, Israa al-Ghomgham, who may as well be the first woman in Saudi Arabia to be executed for work related to human and women’s rights.

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