|Date: Oct 3, 2019|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Verdict in Saudi dissident case expected October 10: family|
|Agence France Presse|
DUBAI: A Saudi court will issue a verdict in the case of dissident Sheikh Salman al-Awda on Oct.10, the prominent cleric's son said Wednesday, amid concerns he will be sentenced to death.
"Today, my father, Salman al-Awda, was present in a Riyadh court," Abdullah al-Awda tweeted. "Next Thursday (October 10) will be the sentencing hearing."
Awda was among 20 people, including writers and journalists, arrested in September 2017 as part of a crackdown on dissent in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Awda's family and Saudi media have said prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The charge sheet has not been made public.
Human rights groups have said the trial is a political reprisal against Awda, a leading figure in a 1990s Islamist movement associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the past two weeks, at least seven sessions in the cleric's case were convened, according to his son.
In one of the hearings, the prosecution presented "what it called evidence against (Awda), which was about 2,000 tweets posted to his Twitter account," he added.
The cleric's family have said Saudi authorities had demanded that Awda and other prominent figures publicly back the kingdom in a dispute with neighbouring Qatar, but he refused.
Riyadh and several allies cut off all diplomatic and economic ties with Doha in June 2017, accusing it of links to Islamist extremists, a charge Qatar has denied.