After over three years of unlawful detention, Saudi Arabian human-rights activist and former Red Crescent employee Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan has been handed 20 years of a prison sentence, plus a 20-year travel ban on his release.
Abdulrahman’s sister, Areej Al-Sadhan, responded to the sentence on Twitter, saying ‘THIS IS INSANE!!! They are seeking 20 YEARS imprisonment followed by 20 YEARS of travel ban!!!!!’
Al-Sadhan was arrested on 12 March 2018 at the Red Crescent offices in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. His family was officially informed of his detention only a month after his detention.
Al-Sadhan had been held for over one thousand days without charge.
Various organisations joined in the criticism of the Saudi’s court decision.
“We are concerned by reports that a Saudi counterterrorism court sentenced Saudi aid worker Abdulrahman al-Sadhan to 20 years in prison followed by a 20-year travel ban. We will continue to monitor this case closely throughout any appeals process,” said a US State Department spokesperson in a statement.
“As we have said to Saudi officials at all levels, freedom of expression should never be a punishable offense”, the statement continued.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights UK has previously demanded the release of al-Sadhan.
Saudi authorities’ treatment of regime critics came into the international spotlight with the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, now widely believed to have been ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Cases such as the detention of women’s rights activist Loujain Al-Hathloul, who was recently released, have also drawn worldwide condemnation.
Al-Sadhan is likely to continue to be held in Saudi’s notorious al-Hair prison.