Activists Lawyer Accuses Government of Interference, Escalation

Lawyer of two prominent Saudi activists have accused the government of interfering in the trial that concluded yesterday with jail sentences against the activists. Lawyer Abdulaziz al-Hussan told Sabq that the sentences were expected but he considered the judge’s order to arrest activists Mohammed Fahad al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamed an “escalation” from the government. Al-Hussan said they plan to appeal the court decision after they receive the official papers in two weeks, but until then both activists will remain in detention, a procedure he called “unjustified.” While the activists and their supporters may find the jail sentences harsh, that did not seem to be the case for the public prosecutor. Al-Riyadh reported that the prosecutor has announced after the hearing that he plans to file an objection memo soon, which means he is likely to ask for harsher sentences.