Rights sources said that the criminal court in Riyadh set on Sunday as the date for the verdict against the prominent preacher, “Awad al-Qarni.”
Al-Qarni has been detained since September 2017, along with other preachers and activists in the Kingdom, most notably Salman al-Awda and academic Ali al-Omari, amid demands from international and local figures and organizations for their release.
The Al Saud authorities in Saudi Arabia charge the detainees with “breaking the guardian”, “violating friendly countries” (referring to criticism of some of the detainees to the UAE), “communicating with external parties”, “seeking to provoke strife and destabilizing state security,” and “ Financing terrorist organizations outside the Kingdom ”and“ belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood ”, but the detainees deny the validity of these charges and say that their arrest came politically because of“ violating the opinion of the ruling authority ”.
About two weeks ago, Abdullah, the son of the preacher, al-Awda, said on Twitter that his father’s sentence was decided on Wednesday (October 30th).
In a series of previous tweets, “Detainees of Conscience” account revealed that the authorities of the House of Saud in the Kingdom arrested six new people, including an academic, a tribal sheikh and prominent poets, this week; on the back of criticism of the “Entertainment Authority” in the Kingdom.
The Saudi authorities do not disclose the number of people detained on the basis of freedom of opinion in their prisons, and do not allow human rights institutions to visit them or see their conditions, raising doubts about this.
According to a previous tweet by “Detainees of Conscience,” the number of people who have been identified since September 2017 has risen to more than 110 figures, in addition to about 50 Palestinian residents and a number of residents of other nationalities.
Activists have confirmed that Saudi authorities have placed the detained preacher Awad al-Qarni in solitary confinement since his arrest in September 2017.
According to the “Detainees of Conscience” account on Twitter: “We have confirmed news that Sheikh Awad al-Qarni has been in solitary confinement since his arrest in September 2017, and has been prevented from provisionally releasing his wife to visit the hospital after an operation, and from attending his son’s wedding ceremonies. And his daughter later, although the laws allow it.”
The Saudi authorities arrested Awad al-Qarni on charges of sympathizing with Qatar and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, while prosecutors demanded his execution along with other preachers, including Salman al-Awda and ‘Ali al-‘Umari.
Detained preachers and others are tried secretly in the kingdom, and the authorities usually do not allow the media, organizations or even their families to attend hearings.
According to international human rights reports and testimonies from family members, detainees were subjected to systematic torture, including sleep deprivation and food, and handcuffs and legs in cells.