A criminal court in Saudi Arabia sentenced a columnist to five years in prison for insulting the royal court, the official body that represents the king and crown prince, according to state-linked media on Thursday, ABC News reported quoting AP.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has previously urged Saudi authorities to release the writer, Saleh al-Shehi, a prominent columnist with nearly 1.2 million followers on Twitter. CPJ says he appears to have been detained after his Dec. 8 appearance on the privately owned Rotana Channel after saying that any Saudi citizen who has a contact within the royal court automatically has an advantage in buying strategically located land unavailable to the public.
As is typical in such cases, local media did not identify the convicted writer by name, saying only that he is a Saudi national. Okaz online reported the court also imposed a five-year travel ban against the writer after his release.