A Saudi court has handed a further prison sentence to the current prisoner of conscience and well-known preacher, Sheikh Nasser al-Omar.
The latest sentence is for ten years. Al-Omar has been detained for almost three years, having been incarcerated in August 2018.
Al-Omar had been informed that he was to receive a king’s pardon – though it was later revealed that the pardon did not cover all charges against him.
A-Omar is a former professor at the Faculty of Fundamentals of Religion at Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, north of Riyadh.
Al-Omar arrest and initial detention in August 2018 was part of a wider campaign against dissenters and critics in the country, following the assumption to de facto power of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman in June 2017.
In September 2017, Saudi authorities demanded of Sheikh al-Omar that he not interfere in – or even discuss – political issues. He was arrested less than a year afterwards.
Numerous international human rights organisations have criticized the blatant politicization of policing and the judiciary in the Kingdom, including Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK), which has highlighted the numerous legal abuses that critics and dissenters have suffered in the country over the last period.
Since the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi prison authorities have been accused by various prisoner solidarity groups of not providing even minimal health and safety measures for detainees.