Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism apparatus targets rights activists - IFEX: "King Salman should immediately pardon and release anyone imprisoned merely for peacefully expressing their opinions," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "In combating terrorism within its borders, Saudi Arabia should engage with rights activists and offer them a seat at the table rather than a bed in a prison cell."
Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism law and a series of related decrees are used to criminalize a wide range of acts as "terrorism", including intending to "insult the reputation of the state," "harm public order," or "calling for atheist thought."
Emmerson said that Saudi authorities denied him access to people jailed under the counterterrorism law and expressed concern regarding Saudi Arabia's "unacceptably broad definition of terrorism." He also called on Saudi Arabia to set up "a new independent mechanism to re-examine all cases where people had been jailed for exercising their rights of free speech, thought, conscience, religion or opinion, and of peaceful assembly or association."
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