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Imprisoned Saudi cleric Awdah faces 'secret trial' without legal representation Open in fullscreen

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Imprisoned Saudi cleric Awdah faces 'secret trial' without legal representation

The cleric, known for advocating reforms, had millions of followers on Twitter. [Twitter]

Date of publication: 16 August, 2018

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Saudi authorities are prosecuting a prominent detained cleric in a secret trial without legal representation, the cleric's son has said.
Saudi authorities are prosecuting a prominent detained cleric in a secret trial without legal representation, the cleric's son has said.

Salman al-Awdah's son Abdallah, who lives in the United States, made the remarks in an online statement on Wednesday.

"A prison officer told me about a secret trial, of which my father does not know the details, charges or location," Abdallah tweeted.

"No one is allowed to attend this trial and it seems there is no real legal process. We do not trust sudden secret trials that take place without a lawyer, independent bodies or clear charges."

He added that his father said in a phone call that authorities had suddenly transferred him from a prison in Jeddah to another prison in the capital Riyadh.

Awdah was arrested in September 2017 after he expressed support for Saudi reconciliation with Qatar at the start of the Saudi-led blockade from Arab neighbours.

His arrest was among the first of dozens of people detained last September as part of a crackdown against what Saudi authorities said were those acting "for the benefit of foreign parties against the security of the kingdom and its interests".

In January, Human Rights Watch said Awdah had not been questioned or charged since his arrest and that he had been held in solitary confinement.

The cleric, known for advocating reforms in recent years, had millions of followers on Twitter.

Riyadh has convicted hundreds of terror suspects in secret tribunals without legal representation, according to HRW.

This month, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador, recalled its own envoy and froze all new trade and investments after Ottawa publicly demanded the "immediate release" of rights campaigners jailed in the kingdom.

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