Saudi Arabia: Khaled Al-Rashed sentenced to 15 years in prison after an expedited trial

Al-Karama has been informed that when Khaled Al-Rashed, a member of the so-called "reformers", appealed his prison sentence, it was immediately tripled. He was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment in a trial held behind closed doors.

He appealed this decision at the Hay'at Al-Tamyz court, which was acting as a court of appeal in this case. The Hay'at court confirmed the initial decision on the 6April 2009 without ever giving Al-Rashed the opportunity to defend the charges against him or to be assisted by a lawyer.

Faced with the protests by the defendant that his right to defend himself should be respected, the judge tripled the length of his sentence and condemned him to 15 years' imprisonment.

Al-Karama for Human Rights submitted the case of Mr. Khaled ibn Mohamed Al- Rashed to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the 30 April 2006, shortly after his arrest. The Working Group called the detention arbitrary in Opinion 4 / 2007 of 8 May 2007 - this did not result in his release.

Khaled Al-Rashed was born on the 18 March 1962 and is a teacher at the Ben Fahd Al-Mufleh Sabiya school in Thuqba, in Al-Dammam province. He is known to be part of the movement called the "reformers".

He was arrested on 19 March 2006 in Mecca, where he was completing the Omra (religious pilgrimage) with his wife. His family believe the arrest is in response to his public comments about government policy.

No judicial warrant was submitted at the time of his arrest and no explanation was given, not even verbally. According to his relatives, he was abused following his arrest and during his imprisonment. After being held in Mecca by the intelligence services, he was transferred to the prison of Al-Hayr near the capital, Riyadh.

During his trial, he was not allowed to see his criminal record, nor was he given recourse to a lawyer, which is in violation of the country's law. There is no doubt that his arrest and conviction are simply due to the fact that he freely and peacefully expressed political views that were critical of the government.

Al-Karama plans to notify the United Nations entities of this new violation of Khaled Al-Rashed's rights.

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