UN ignored as prison sentence increased for Al-Otaibi

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have increased the prison sentence of the detained activist Mohammed Abdullah Al-Otaibi by three years despite calls from the UN asking for his immediate release.

Mr Al-Otaibi was detained and charged by the Saudi government for travelling to Qatar in 2017. The increase in his sentence brings the total term of imprisonment to 17 years. It should be noted Al-Otaibi’s case was heard before the Specialised Criminal Court – several human rights organisations have previously commented on the inadequacy in the standards of justice in such a court.

The decision taken by the Saudi judiciary to ignore the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention comes as a complaint was lodged by Alkarama – a human rights organisation and NGO set up to defend the victims of human rights violations in the Arab world.

Mr Al-Otaibi was detained on 24th May 2017 at Hamad International Airport in Doha by the Qatari security forces and forcibly deported to Saudi Arabia on 28th of the same month.

His Lawyer Rachid Mosali, Alkarama’s Legal Director explained the addition of a new charge by the Court of Appeal and imposing a mandatory sentence is a violation of the principle of appeal. He also added Alkarama will re-address the special procedures of the United Nations regarding the activist Al-Otaibi.

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