Prominent Saudi cleric urges king to pardon his jailed colleague
A prominent Saudi preacher on Thursday called on King Abdullah to pardon Yusuf al-Ahmed, a cleric who was sentenced to five years in prison on terrorism charges dpa reported
"I think our father, the king, will issue a pardon for him quickly," Mohammed Al-Areefi wrote on Twitter.
Al-Ahmed was sentenced by a court in the capital Riyadh on Wednesday following his conviction on charges ranging from incitement against the authorities, damaging national unity, promoting al-Qaeda's ideology and publishing seditious material.
He was arrested in July 2011 after posting YouTube footage in which he objected to the lengthy detention of suspects without trial, according to Human Rights Watch.
The watchdog's researcher Christoph Wilcke said Thursday that al-Ahmed was detained and tried for peaceful advocacy of the release and fair trial of prisoners.
"It's ironic that he should suffer the same fate as those whose rights he advocated," Wilcke told dpa.