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Saudi journalist jailed 12 years for 'disobeying ruler'

File - A Saudi child holds up a national flag with picture of King Abdullah bin Abdelazziz during celebrations marking the 83rd Saudi Arabian National Day in the desert kingdom's capital Riyadh, on September 23, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

RIYADH: A Saudi court sentenced a journalist to 12 years in prison Tuesday for "disobeying the ruler" and accusing the kingdom of creating terrorism in televised remarks, state media reported.

The convict, identified by local media as Wajdi al-Ghazzawi, was also accused of "contacting an enemy of Saudi Arabia at the time (in 2009) and receiving a suspicious sum of money from it," the SPA news agency reported.

The news agency did not name the country but local media had reported that Ghazzawi stands accused of receiving money from Libya's now-slain leader Moamer Kadhafi in 2009, when tensions were running high between Tripoli and Riyadh.

The criminal court in Riyadh on Tuesday handed the journalist a 20-year travel ban and banned him from appearing in media.

It convicted him of "disobeying the ruler on a television programme, inciting sedition... discrediting the kingdom and claiming that terrorism and Al-Qaeda were created by Saudi Arabia."

He was also charged with spreading excerpts of the programme over the internet and accusing the kingdom "of insulting residents and denying them their rights," according to SPA.

Kadhafi's regime was known for its stormy relations with Saudi Arabia during his four-decade rule, which ended with his killing by NATO-backed rebels in 2011.

In June 2004, articles in US and Saudi newspapers accused Kadhafi of allegedly plotting to assassinate Saudi King Abdullah, who was then crown prince.

 

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