Prominent human rights activist ‘dies in prison’ in Saudi Arabia

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Passers-by in Riyadh (archive photo)

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Saudi Arabia has been sharply criticized for its human rights record


Saudi human rights activist jailed since 2013 for dissent died in prison, activists say.

Abdullah al-Hamid, founder of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, was in a coma after having suffered a stroke.

Human rights groups have long called for his release.

Saudi Arabia, widely criticized for its intolerance of dissent, did not comment on the news.

Dr al-Hamid, 69, and another activist, Mohammed al-Qahtani, were sentenced at the same time and sentenced to 10 and 11 years respectively.

The men were found guilty of a series of offenses, including “causing disorder.”

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Saudi activists have accused Saudi authorities of not treating Dr. al-Hamid since he fell ill two weeks ago.

Britain-based Saudi academic Madawi al-Rasheed – who is a outspoken critic of current Saudi leaders – described Dr. al-Hamid as a symbol of the struggle for human rights.

The Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights was closed after the conviction of its co-founders.

Activists say Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, with severely restricted freedom of expression and government critics subject to what they say is an arrest arbitrary.

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