Saudi Arabia: Appeals court upholds verdict against Yemeni journalist Ali Mohsen Ahmed Abu Lahoum
Once again, the Saudi judiciary proves to be unprofessional and lacking in international standards on fair trials and due process.
On 30 December 2021, the Court of Appeal in Najran issued its ruling upholding the initial 15-year prison sentence handed down by the Criminal Court against Yemeni journalist Ali Mohsen Ahmed Abu Lahoum. The verdict, a copy of which was seen by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), included the court's confirmation of all charges for which he was convicted.
Reliable local sources confirmed that this ruling was issued after a show trial, which consisted of a sudden and quick online session that his wife was not informed of despite her daily visits to the court and persistent requests for confirmation of the date of the hearing. His lawyer was informed of the hearing at the last minute, meaning that he did not have sufficient time to notify the family.
It is hoped that Abu Lahoum will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court in Riyadh, which is the highest judicial authority in Saudi Arabia, within 30 days of the date of the decision.
On 26 October 2021, the Criminal Court in Najran issued a punitive verdict against Abu Lahoum, sentencing him to ten years in prison after convicting him of apostasy and atheism, and another five years in prison for publishing his writings on social media networks that "would prejudice public order, religious values and morals", as stated in the court’s verdict.
For more information on his case, see:
GCHR strongly condemns the verdict issued against journalist Ali Mohsen Ahmed Abu Lahoum by the Najran Court of Appeal and his show trial, from which only one result could be expected in such a repressive climate. GCHR calls for his immediate release and the dropping of all false charges brought against him.