A Saudi journalist has been sentenced to five years in prison over tweets deemed insulting to the kingdom’s rulers. Ala’a Brinji, who has reportedly already served two years in prison, was found guilty on Thursday of a list of charges including “insulting the rulers [and] inciting public opinion.
Brinji was also convicted of “accusing security officers of killing protesters” in the town of Awamiya in Saudi’s restive Eastern Province. The journalist had been tried in a counter-terrorism court that also found Brinji guilty of “ridiculing Islamic religious figures”.
In addition to the jail term, Brinji has been slapped with a fine of 50,000 riyals and an eight-year travel ban, pointing out that he has been in detention since May 2014, including an initial period of incommunicado solitary confinement.
Amnesty said Brinji worked for Saudi newspapers Al Bilad, Okaz and Al Sharq. Awamiya, a town of about 30,000 in Eastern Province, has been the scene of repeated incidents since 2011.