Saudi court postpones trial of Islamic preacher Salman News -

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A Saudi court has decided to postpone the trial of the preacher Salman back to December next Sunday (28 July). The preacher, facing the death penalty, did not attend today's session, his son said.

"My father was not brought to the courtroom," Abdullah al-Awda wrote in his Twitter account. "The next session will be in December."

The return is considered close to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned by the Saudi authorities. He was among 20 people arrested in mid-September 2017, including writers and journalists, in a crackdown on dissidents in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has asked the cleric and others to publicly support Riyadh in its row with neighboring Qatar, but it has been rejected, according to close associates.

"We are very concerned that Sheikh Salman may be sentenced to death and sentenced to death," said Amnesty International Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf. She said the cleric was being tried "before the anti-terrorism court known as the Specialized Criminal Court."

On February 3, the Saudi attorney general postponed a hearing in the trial of Sheikh Salman al-Awda.

It is noteworthy that the preacher Salman al-Awda was suspended after the publication of a tweet in September 2017 in which he indirectly welcomed the possibility of a solution to the crisis with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and its allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 after accusing Doha of supporting terrorist organizations, which Doha denies.

A Saudi prosecutor has requested the death penalty for Sheikh al-Awda since his trial began in early September, the Saudi government daily Okaz reported, adding that 37 counts had been brought against him. The return is one of the most prominent aspects of the "Awakening Movement," which is seen as close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In April, Saudi Arabia executed 37 Saudis, most of them Shiites, in terrorism-related crimes. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the executions and expressed concern about the lack of due process and fair trial guarantees, and that at least three of them were minors when sentenced.

Hd / AP (AFP, Reuters)

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