01 July 2013

Saudi court jails Facebook activists

Seven so-called cyber activists have been jailed by a court in Saudi Arabia for inciting protests, angering human rights groups which say the defendants claim to have been tortured into signing confessions.

By James Barnes

Saudi Arabia: Facebook activists jailed

The BBC reports that the seven men mainly used Facebook to encourage protests but they were not accused of directly taking part in any demonstrations.

Anti-terrorism court

The men – who were arrested in September last year, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) – were handed between five to 10 years in prison.
New York-based HRW said the case began in April and was heard in an anti-terrorism court. It is reported that the longest sentence was handed to an activist who set up Facebook groups allegedly explaining the best protest techniques.
HRW, which also claimed that the defendants said they had been tortured into signing confessions, said that the case ‘posts a strong message that there’s no safe way to speak out in Saudi Arabia’.

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