05-12-2019 04:56 PM Jerusalem Timing

Saudi Man Jailed for 10 Years over Twitter Messages

Saudi Man Jailed for 10 Years over Twitter Messages

A Saudi court sentenced a man to 10 years in jail and a 100,000 riyal ($26,700) fine for joining protests against the kingdom’s rulers and using Twitter to urge people to do the same.

TwitterA Saudi court sentenced a man to 10 years in jail and a 100,000 riyal ($26,700) fine for joining protests against the kingdom's rulers and using Twitter to urge people to do the same, state news agency SPA said on Monday.

SPA quoted Justice Ministry spokesman Fahd al-Bakran as saying the unidentified defendant had also retweeted messages against the monarchy.

"(He was) convicted of entering an Internet site hostile to the state that encourages fighting and promotes deviant thought," Bakran said.

The man, who has been in jail for three years, was charged and convicted under laws that criminalize internet abuse.

In a separate case, the court sentenced another defendant to eight years in jail for contacting a man wanted by security forces and trying to help people wounded during demonstrations.

He was also charged with joining a funeral procession for a person killed during peaceful protests and with chanting anti-government slogans.

Minority Muslim Shi'ites have staged sporadic protests in Qatif since 1979 demanding social justice. The town's most recent wave of demonstrations began during the Arab uprisings of 2011 and continued through 2012.

At least 21 people have been shot dead in the region since early 2011. Protesters say they suffer persistent discrimination in the kingdom.