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Seven Saudis jailed for urging protests on Facebook

World News : Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to condemn a Saudi court decision sentencing seven cyber activists to up to 10 years in jail.

HRW’s call came ahead of Sunday’s meeting in Manama where Ashton is chairing a joint EU-Gulf Cooperation Council on how to boost cooperation between the two bodies.

“Sending people off to years in prison for peaceful Facebook posts sends a strong message that there’s no safe way to speak out in Saudi Arabia, even on online social networks,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Mideast director, in a statement.

“If the EU doesn’t raise these cases with Saudi officials this weekend, its silence will look like craven compliance with the rights abuses of an authoritarian state.

”A specialised Saudi criminal court on June 24 sentenced the seven “government critics” for “allegedly inciting protests and harming public order, largely by using Facebook,” said the New York-based watchdog.

The court also barred them from travelling for additional periods. Agencies

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