Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Update: Saudi Arabia – Human rights defender Mr Fowzan Al-Harbi sentenced to ten years in prison

Twitter: @FrontlineHRD

25 November 2014 

On 19 November 2014, human rights defender Mr Fowzan Al-Harbi was sentenced in appeal to 10 years' imprisonment and a further 10-year travel ban by Riyadh Criminal Court. The court increased the 7-year sentence, with six years suspended, handed down on 25 June 2014. The human rights defender was immediately arrested upon pronouncement of the appeal verdict. 

Fowzan Al-Harbi is co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Right Association (ACPRA), and is known in Saudi Arabia for speaking out on the human rights situation in the country. The ACPRA has been refused registration from the Saudi authorities. 

On 17 November 2014, Fowzan Al-Harbi received a phone call from the office of the Criminal Court'spresiding judge, Mr Omar Al-Sahan, asking him to appear before the court on Wednesday 19 November at 10 am. During the hearing, the human rights defender was informed by the judge that the Court of Appeal had requested an increase of the prison term from 7 to 10 years without suspension. In the same hearing, the public prosecutor requested the immediate execution of the sentence on the basis that Fowzan Al-Harbihad published the text of the first instance sentence as well as his lawyer's arguments against it. 

Front Line Defenders remains gravely concerned by the prison sentence and travel ban handed down to Fowzan Al-Harbi. Front Line Defenders considers the conviction to be a direct result of the human rights defender's legitimate and peaceful human rights work and urges the authorities in Saudi Arabia to review and quash the conviction, and to ensure Fowzan Al-Harbi's release.