Saudi protesters get prison terms

A Saudi judge has sentenced 15 people to prison and flogging for taking part in anti-government protests last December.

    Troop deployments prevented demonstrations in December

    The Okaz newspaper reported on Tuesday that the demonstrators were part of 21-strong group arrested in the Red Sea city of Jedda on 16 December "for taking part in a gathering".

    The sentences ranged from one to six-month prison terms coupled with a pledge not to repeat such action, it said.

    The 15 will also receive between 100 and 200 lashes "depending on the act committed by each defendant and whether he repented", the daily added.

    Political demonstrations are outlawed under the strict laws of Saudi Arabia.

    The demonstrations were called for by the London-based Movement for Islamic Reform (MIRA) but were thwarted as Saudi security forces deployed en masse in Riyadh and Jedda.

    Broadcasts jammed

    Ending monarchic government is
    a stated goal of Saudi dissidents

    The group's chief, Saad al-Faqih, had called for peaceful protests in support of ending monarchic government, which it accuses of mass corruption.

    Al-Faqih told Aljazeera.net on on Tuesday that all MIRA's broadcasts into Saudi Arabia were now being jammed and that various international agencies were attempting to prevent him from making any public criticism of Riyadh.

    Nevertheless, he said his organisation had succeeded in getting tens of thousands of Saudis to pray at particular mosques on Friday in a successful attempt to promote discussions about the government and the need for reform.

    MIRA managed to organise demonstrations last year in several cities of the oil-rich ultra-conservative kingdom, leading to the arrest of more than 300 people, mainly in Riyadh.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.