Saudi Activist: “This is an inquisition, prosecuting us for our opinions”

The attendees, after the end of the session. via @alajmi01

Saudi Activist: “This is an inquisition, prosecuting us for our opinions”

global voices                                                                                Written byOsama Khalid

The seventh hearing session of the ongoing trial of the two prominent human rights activists Mohammad Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid was held today [Dec 1, 2012] at the Riyadh Criminal Court. In the last hearing session, the defendants responded to the charges, and today, the public prosecutor provided more ‘clarifications.’ Seventy-nine supporters attended the session, including three women. Moreover, correspondents from Al Jazeera, Sky News and AFP were present.

The public prosecutor started by explaining that the two activists were not actually accused of “impeding the country’s development”, but rather “trying to impede the country’s development.” He said that “the difference between the two is very obvious to those with brains.” He cited their demands of peaceful demonstrations and political parties are strong evidence. He also said that: “anyone that follows what the two are writing, finds no mention of any positive aspect. This proves that they are only looking for flaws”.

The public prosecutor added new evidence to prove Dr. al-Hamid’s disrespect to state clergy: misspelling the last name of Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, who is a very respected ultraconservative cleric. In one of his tweets, al-Hamid was accused of spelling Uthaymeen’s last name in a way that makes it sound like “Muhammad, the son of the sterile.” One Saudi Twitter user showed that iPhone’s ‘autocorrected’ the Arabic spelling of ‘Uthaymeen’ to make it read like ‘sterile’. Saudi activist Sultan al-Fifi sarcastically expressed his surprise:

لم أكن أعلم أن ملاحقة مرتكبي الأخطاء المطبعية من صلاحيات هيئة التحقيق والادعاء العام :) #محاكمة_حسم

@SultanAlfifi: I did not know that tracking misspellers was one of the tasks of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution :)