Salman Odeh is a Sunni cleric who was arrested in 2017 as part of a mass crackdown that saw many clerics, businessmen and human rights activists arrested. The prosecutor now demands that he must be executed.
On Tuesday, Odeh’s son and human rights groups confirmed that the prosecutor is demanding the death penalty for the prominent cleric with charges of leading a terrorist group and inciting the public against the ruler of the country.
Translation: “Today at the court hearing of my father Salman Odeh, the prosecutor demanded the death penalty for him and charged him with 37 charges, including establishing the Nusra group in Kuwait to defend the prophet (PBUH) and that he is a member of the European Iftaa Council, the International Union of Muslim Scholars in addition to other charges related to his tweets.”
The Saudi group, Prisoners of Conscience, posted the news of the start of the Sheikh’s secret trial as well.
A secret trial held on Tuesday for Odeh began, after a year without charge. The state prosecutor brought 37 charges against him, most of which are terrorism-related.
This comes despite the fact that Odeh was known for his progressive views on political issues related to the government policies in wars and activist arrests.
His latest arrest came in August 2017, after he tweeted a prayer for reconciliation to the Gulf crisis between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance with UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. He said in the tweet: “May God harmonise between their hearts for the good of their people.”
In response to the news, hundreds of Odeh supporters took to Twitter to be part in a hashtag: سلمان العودة ليس ارهابيا which means “Salman Odeh is not a terrorist” to demand his release.
On the other hand, a counter-hashtag went viral in Saudi Arabia that says: سلمان العودة ارهابي which translates to “Salman Odeh is a terrorist." Saudis jumped to the hashtag to criticize Odeh, support the Saudi government and threaten anyone who might express an anti-government views.
Saudi Arabia has been under fire by human rights groups following Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdowns on activists, feminists and businessmen. In addition to his foreign policies in which he led an alliance to intervene in the Yemen war in addition to the Gulf crisis that was erupted after he was appointed.
The latest was a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) last week that the Saudi Public Prosecution seeks death penalty against five activists, including Israa al-Ghumgham.
The Public Prosecution that reports directly to the King, accused the activists of several charges including taking part in protests, attempts to inflame the public opinion in addition to “providing moral support to rioters."
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