The Court of Appeals overturned an initial decision by the Specialised Criminal Court that had acquitted Sheikh Al-Taleb, instead giving him a formal jail sentence, according to the rights group.
🔴Confirmed to us that the Court of Appeal reversed the release ruling against the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Saleh Al-Talib, and issued a ten-year prison sentence against him. pic.twitter.com/wWcdrLJgsP
— Prisoners of Conscience (@m3takl_en) August 23, 2022
Sheikh Saleh al-Taleb was initially arrested in August 2018. There was no official explanation for the 48-year-old’s detention, but rights groups say his arrest came after he delivered a sermon on the duty of Muslims to speak out against evil in public.
Here is that sermon that could have been the reason for his arrest:
Saudi Arabia is known for routinely imprisoning activists, journalists, and preachers without a clear cause.
Dozens of preachers have reportedly been arrested since 2017, including some who called for reconciliation between the Gulf States when Saudi Arabia orchestrated a siege against neighbouring Qatar.
Many of those clerics are still in jail, despite relations between the neighbours since being normalised.
Last week, Saudi authorities sentenced doctoral student Salma Al-Shehab to 34 years behind bars for tweets critical of the government, triggering outrage worldwide.