Saudi Arabia fines lawyers for criticizing justice system

Saudi Arabia fines lawyers for criticizing justice system
Thu Jun 5, 2014 11:33:23

A verdict in Saudi Arabia against three Saudi lawyers who criticized the kingdom’s Ministry of Justice on Twitter is a reminder of lack of basic free speech rights in the Persian Gulf state.

Three Saudi lawyers were sentenced this week to fines of more than one million Saudi riyals ($266,666) in total and a complete media ban after they criticized the kingdom’s Ministry of Justice on Twitter. The lawyers were also ordered to issue a formal apology to Justice Minister Mohammed Al Isa, Wall Street Journal reported.

In complaints filed last November with a Ministry of Culture and Information’s legal committee responsible for looking into violations published online, the Ministry of Justice accused the three lawyers of posting tweets that “damage the reputation of the justice apparatus” and retweeting cartoons and articles that mock judges.

The three targeted lawyers are Abdulrahman Al Rumaih, Abdulrahman Al Sobaihi and Bander Alnogaithan, a graduate of Harvard Law School.

The state news agency carried a statement Tuesday by the ministry’s legal committee that described the three lawyers’ criticism of the ministry as “improvised tweets which are extremely bad in vocabulary and content.”

The statement said there would be an opportunity to appeal the verdict.

One of the three accused lawyers, speaking to WSJ on the condition of anonymity, said they plan to write to the king to intervene in the case, describing what the committee said in its statement as “lies and defamation.”

“We have no doubt that we will be granted justice” from the king, the lawyer said.


string(1047) "[{"id":"1577515","sort":"3213132","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/20/alalam_635308985586134570_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Amnesty criticizes Saudi human rights record"} ,{"id":"1577974","sort":"3213133","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/21/alalam_635310195106328601_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi Arabia's human rights 'rebrand' is fooling no one"} ,{"id":"1592269","sort":"3213134","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/05/08/alalam_635351751673570913_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi woman killed while defying driving ban"} ,{"id":"1592735","sort":"3213135","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/05/10/alalam_635353106528711323_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi court sentences activists to 11-year jail terms"} ,{"id":"1598105","sort":"3213136","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/05/28/alalam_635369060620429701_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi court hands death sentence to Shia teenager"} ,{"id":"1598786","sort":"3213137","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/05/31/alalam_635371363070777520_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Saudi princesses suffer from 60+ days of starvation"} ]"