DUBAI, United Arab Emirates | A Saudi activist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and banned from travel abroad for another decade, a human rights lawyer said Tuesday.
Abdel-Karim al-Khadar, a professor of Islamic Studies from the conservative province of Qassim, has been under arrest since April 2013. He was considered among the most vocal critics of religious extremism and militancy. He had posted videos online giving religious lectures in support of greater women’s rights and co-existence.
The Saudi rights lawyer, who spoke anonymously for fear of reprisal, told The Associated Press that al-Khadar was sentenced Monday by Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court. He was convicted on charges of disobeying the ruler, founding a human rights organization, supporting protests, violating Internet laws through his posts and accusing Saudi authorities of human rights abuses.
He is the third rights activist to be sentenced to prison in the past week, and was a founding member of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, known by its Arabic acronym HASEM.
Many of HASEM’s members are already in prison. Seven of the group’s founders are in jail serving prison sentences and two are in jail facing trial. Two others are on trial, but not jailed.