JEDDAH: MD AL-SULAMI
Published — Monday 26 November 2012
Last update 26 November 2012 4:25 am
Two professors denied charges of incitement against rulers at a special criminal court in Riyadh Saturday.
The charges against Abdullah Al-Hamid and Muhammad Al-Qahtani included seditious acts such as calls to stage demonstrations in public squares, attempts to destabilize the state and society and debunking the national development. Another charge against them was that they accused the intelligence department of detaining more than 30,000 people.
In his defense, Al-Qahtani said he never made a call for uprising against the king or to disobey the ruler. He admitted criticizing the state machinery but it was not a criticism against the rulers. He blamed the public prosecutor for misinterpreting his opposition to the government departments as rebellion against the ruler.
The two defendants also said the prosecutor’s equating them with Khawarij (the first rebel group in the political history of Islam) was an unfair analogy.
The first defendant also said most of the charges made by the prosecution were baseless and did not refer to any tangible deed.
While they did not deny the charge against them that they accused the intelligence department of violating people's human rights, the two requested the judge either to permit them to produce witnesses in the next session to buttress their statements, or ask the Interior Ministry to produce records of daily rations in the intelligence department’s jails.
The defendants demanded that the judge allow the media to publish their names and trial proceedings so that they might not be mistaken for terrorists or extremists.
The judge, however, told the first defendant that his evidence against the prosecution charges were not convincing and that he was contradicting himself in some of his arguments.