Human Rights Watch says Saudi public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against five human rights activists including one woman
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is reportedly seeking the death penalty against five human rights activists including one woman.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the defendants from the kingdom’s Eastern Province are currently on trial in a terrorism court.
Among the detainees is Israa al-Ghomgham, whom Saudi activists said was the first woman to possibly face the death penalty for rights-related work.
Charges against her include incitement to protest and providing moral support to rioters, HRW said.
“Any execution is appalling, but seeking the death penalty for activists like Israa al-Ghomgham, who are not even accused of violent behaviour, is monstrous,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.
“If the Crown Prince is truly serious about reform, he should immediately step in to ensure no activist is unjustly detained for his or her human rights work,” added Whitson.
HRW said al-Ghomgham is a Shia activist well known for participating in and documenting mass demonstrations in the Eastern Province that began in early 2011.
Most of the country’s Shi’ite minority lives in the oil-producing Eastern Province.
Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) was set up in 2008 to try terrorism cases.