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Saudi Arabia – Where You're Shot and Sentenced for it

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Law, Protest

The Saudi Criminal Court issued its sentences [1] against four Qatifi young men with sentences ranging from 16 months to four years. One man, Jalal Al-Qattan, who was shot in the stomach by security forces during a protest, and was on the run to avoid arrest, was sentenced to three years. The trial, on Tuesday (September 17), was the fourth and last session in a saga, that stretches back to a protest which happened on the evening of July 8, 2012.

The four Qatif young men. Al-Qattan is top right.

The four Qatif young men. Al-Qattan is top right.

On that night, Al-Qattan was among many youth who participated in a protest against the arrest of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimer Al-Nimer. [2] Two people were martyred [3] that night (Sayyed Akbar Al-Shakhouri [4] and Sayyed Mohammed Al-Felfel), and Jalal Al-Qattan was shot in the stomach. He was taken to a house in Awwamiya, where some tried to stop the bleeding. Someone called Jalal's brother, Ali, who came and took Jalal to their house. Jalal's family tried to persuade him to take him to a hospital, but he refused fearing arrest. Two activists of the 23 “wanted persons” – one is Morsi Al-Rebh who was shot and killed [5] in Awwamiya last June- were following Jalal's situation and tried to get him medical help. They got a nurse, but she told them his condition was critical and he needed surgery. One of the activists offered to find a surgeon, but he did not find any so they brought another nurse who repeated the same advice. The family, again, tried to convince Jalal to get treatment in a hospital, but he refused. So his uncle suggested they take him out of the country. The next day, Jalal Al-Qattan, his brother Ali, his uncle Mohammed Al-Mislab and his brother-in-law Hussain Al-Areef were arrested at the Khafji port on their way to Kuwait.

Some of the charges against them were: breaking allegiance to the ruler, not reporting other protestors, not reporting the two wanted persons who took Jalal to a safe house for medical assistance, not reporting nurses who tried to aid Jalal outside the assigned place for medical treatment, Jalal was also charged with impiety to his parents because the defendant put himself in danger by refusing to go to a hospital. Jalal and his uncle were convicted of all of the charges made against them and Jalal was sentenced to three years in prison and a three-year travel ban afterwards, while his uncle was sentenced to four years and a four-year travel ban. Jalal's brother, Ali, was sentenced to two years in prison and a two-year travel ban. Al-Areef was only convicted of trying to “smuggle” his brother-in-law out of the country instead of reporting him to authorities. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail and a 16-month travel ban.

Twitter users commented on the verdicts:

In Qatif, we have many Jalal Al-Qattans who didn't go to hospitals fearing arrest and Jalal's fate. Some avoided prison only to become disabled.

Today was the trial of Jalal Al-Qattan who was shot by security forces.
Strange! They shoot him, then sentence him to three years.

In the kingdom of humanity, treating the injured is a crime punished by law even if the injured was a close relative.