Thursday, September 3, 2009

Saudi shi'ite 16 years in jail for insulting the prophets, and gets 5 more years

A Shi'ite who has been on death row in Saudi Arabia for 16 years for insulting the Prophet Mohammed was sentenced this week to another five years in jail for criticising the Saudi justice system, an activist said.

The verdict issued on Monday punished Hadi al-Mutif for criticising the justice system and the U.S.-allied absolute monarchy's human rights record in comments he made from prison to U.S.-funded Alhurra television in 2007. Prisoners are often able to access mobile phones from visitors to Saudi jails.

"He said that he was a victim of sectarian segregation," said Mohamed al-Askar, a leading Ismaili activist.

Mutif's situation has become a rallying call for Ismailis, a minority within Shi'ism. Based in the Najran area bordering Yemen, the Ismailis say majority Sunnis are favoured for jobs, housing and land and complain they cannot practise their rites openly. This whole Reuters story HERE

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