Saudi dissident gets 15-year jail term for taking part in anti-regime protests

The man from Tarut, an island in the Persian Gulf belonging to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, was found guilty of participating in an anti-regime protest, keeping and carrying illegal weapons, and provoking unrest and violence, Riyadh-based news channel al-Ekhbariya reported on Sunday.

Chanting anti-regime slogans, throwing fiery materials, blocking path of security forces were among other charges leveled against the defendant.

According to the report, the court also fined him 5,000 riyals, about $1,125.

In addition, the man has also been banned from leaving the country after completing his jail term.

Numerous dissidents have been jailed without trial or on vague charges in Saudi Arabia, where the regime has been cracking down on the Shia population in the country’s Eastern Province since 2011.

In January, a political prisoner died under suspicious circumstances in a Saudi prison after four years of imprisonment without trial.

In early January 2016, the Riyadh regime announced the execution of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, in defiance of international calls for his release. The move triggered massive condemnations around the world.

Riyadh has long been criticized by international bodies for its grim human rights record, draconian restrictions on freedom of speech, and harsh punishments handed out to dissidents.