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US 'troubled' by jailing of Saudi rights activist

Published on Jul 8, 2014 6:17 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States expressed its concern on Monday over the jailing of a prominent rights lawyer in Saudi Arabia and said it would raise such cases with the kingdom.

Washington “is troubled by the 15-year prison sentence, travel ban and steep fine handed down to human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abulkhair,” State Department spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters.

“We urge the Saudi government to respect international human rights norms, a point we have made to them regularly.” Abulkhair, under arrest since April 26, has had many run-ins with the authorities over his activism and for allegedly insulting them.

Amnesty International describes him as a prisoner of conscience and his case was discussed in the State Department’s latest human rights report.

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