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World

December 2, 2016

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Saudi rights activist jail term hiked to ‘11 years’

Saudi rights activist jail term hiked to ‘11 years’

DUBAI: A Saudi Arabian court on Thursday increased to 11 years the jail sentence of a human rights activist, reflecting a continued crackdown, Amnesty International said.

Following an appeal, the "counter-terror court" revised the sentence against Issa al-Hamid, a founding member of Saudi Arabia´s Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), London-based Amnesty said in a statement.

Hamid was initially sentenced in April to nine years in prison.

Amnesty said he was convicted on a long list of charges including communicating false information to undermine the image of the state.

The charges related to statements and online articles in which he spoke about issues including the right to demonstrate, and called on the king to order an investigation into rights abuses, Amnesty said.

Authorities shut down the independent ACPRA group in 2013 and have sentenced all its founders to jail, Amnesty said.

The ruling increasing Hamid´s sentence "is yet another demonstration of the authorities´ continued ruthless and relentless crackdown on human rights defenders," said Samah Hadid, of Amnesty´s Beirut office.

Saudi Arabia was recently re-elected to a new three-year term on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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