RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Rights group Amnesty International says a court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a peaceful dissident to nine years in prison and banned him from travel abroad for another nine years on charges related to his civil rights work.
Issa al-Hamid is a founding member of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, known by its Arabic acronym HASEM. Several HASEM members are serving similarly lengthy jail sentences. On Sunday, Amnesty International described his sentencing as part of a wider "ruthless onslaught against civil society" by Saudi authorities. Al-Hamid was convicted of inciting people to breach public order, insulting the judiciary, defaming the kingdom's senior religious clerics and establishing an unlicensed organization.
He was tried by Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court, established to try cases of terrorism and national security.