A prominent pro-reform law professor in Saudi Arabia is facing the death penalty for alleged crimes including having a Twitter account and using WhatsApp to share news considered “hostile” to the kingdom, according to court documents seen by the Guardian.
The arrest of Awad Al-Qarni, 65, in September 2017 represented the start of a crackdown against dissent by the then newly named crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Details of the charges brought against Al-Qarni have now been shared with the Guardian by his son Nasser, who last year fled the kingdom and is living in the UK, where he has said he is seeking asylum protection. Public prosecutors have called for the death penalty in the case, but the court has yet to make a formal judgement.
Al-Qarni has been portrayed in Saudi-controlled media as a dangerous preacher, but dissidents have said Al-Qarni was an important and well-regarded intellectual with a strong social media following, including 2m Twitter followers. [Continue reading…]