Prisoners of Conscience

Saudi authorities take sudden steps about prosecution of 4 preachers

The Saudi authorities have taken sudden steps to transfer a number of detained preachers to the capital Riyadh in preparation for their trial, ahead of the pre-set deadlines.

Abdullah al-Awda, son of detained preacher Sheikh Salman al-Awda, said: “Today there was a hearing for the father in the specialized court in Riyadh, and when judges are different from the judicial team that was looking at the case, and they were identified next Tuesday as the next hearing.”

On the health of his father, Abdullah, in a tweet to him on the site “Twitter”: “The father’s health is good, and the conditions of transport improved .. We ask God to release the father Salman return and the rest.”

Abdullah had previously reported that the Saudi authorities had moved his father “hastily” to Riyadh for a new trial session ahead of schedule.

“Today, the family was surprised by a call from the prison administration to the parents in the kingdom, and told them that Salman al-Awda was hastily transferred to Riyadh for a hearing that was expedited in the father’s trial,” he said.

He added that the call came “although the basic date is supposed to be more than a month from now.”

According to the “Detainees of Conscience” account, which is specialized in the follow-up of detainees in the Kingdom on “Twitter”, the specialized criminal court in Riyadh, held on Thursday, several sessions of the trials of the sheikhs, including a session of Sheikh Salman al-Awda.

He pointed out that it is scheduled to hold another session of Sheikh return next Tuesday, after the end of the Saudi National Day holiday.

Previously, the account stated, “Saudi authorities transferred a number of sheikhs to Riyadh, in order to put them before the court.

Some of those who have been told that his trial will be several months later were suddenly transferred today to the court.

Sheikh Safar al-Hawali and Awad al-Qarani are among the sheikhs who were transferred in preparation for submission to the court, within the next few days.

In mid-August, the son of al-Awda said in an article in the British newspaper “The Guardian”: “My father faces death only because he called for reform in the Kingdom.”

He warned against the execution of his father, saying that “such a step would be an assassination committed by the state and cannot be allowed to escape.”

He stated that his father had suffered ill-treatment by being held in solitary confinement, blindfolded, chained to a cell and deprived of sleep and medicine.

He confirmed that 17 members of the family were prevented from traveling, arrested his uncle Khaled, who published a tweet about his father, in addition to the embassy in Washington asked him to go to the Kingdom to “renew my passport,” which was frozen.

It is worth mentioning that Sheikh al-Awda informed his family when they visited him six months after his arrest of the cruel treatment he suffered in his prison, including the occasional deprivation of sleep and food, as well as the signing of documents he did not know.

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