Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty in Trial of Outspoken Cleric
Source: The New York Times
LONDON — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for a prominent Muslim cleric who has criticized the way the monarchy is governed, the Saudi news media and the cleric’s son said Tuesday.
The trial of the cleric, Salman al-Awda, comes after a yearlong crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s day-to-day ruler, that has seen dozens of clerics, activists, princes and businessmen arrested and detained on often vague charges.
Human rights groups have said that many of the arrests, like that of Mr. Awda, had more to do with politics than with any activities commonly regarded as crimes elsewhere in the world.
“If you look at the charges, it is clearly politically motivated,” Adam Coogle, who researches Saudi Arabia for Human Rights Watch, said of the case against Mr. Awda.