Saudi Arabia: Prominent human rights activist ‘dies in jail’


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Saudi Arabia has been heavily criticized for its human rights record

A Saudi human rights activist arrested since 2013 for dissident activities died in prison, activists say.


Abdullah al-Hamid, founder of the Saudi Arabian Civil and Political Rights Association, was in a coma after suffering 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 reports.

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

The men were found guilty of a number of offenses, including "incitement to disorder".

Other Saudi activists have accused the Saudi authorities of not giving doctor al-Hamid adequate medical treatment since he fell ill two weeks ago.


Britain's Saudi scholar Madawi al-Rasheed – who is an outspoken critic of the current Saudi leadership – described Dr. al-Hamid as a symbol of the struggle for human rights.


The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association 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 freedom of speech severely reduced and government critics subject to what they say is an arbitrary arrest.

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