Middle East

Saudi jails former Imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque to 10 years

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Courts of Appeal has sentenced a prominent former imam and preacher at the Grand Mosque in Makkah Sheikh Saleh Al Talib to ten years in prison.

On Monday, August 22, the Organization for Democracy in the Arab World “DAWN” said through its account on Twitter, “The Specialized Criminal Appeals Court in Riyadh, sentenced the Imam of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, Sheikh Saleh al Talib, to ten years in prison, after overturning the previous acquittal ruling against him.”

For his part, the Prisoners of Conscience account, which specializes in reporting the news of Saudi detainees, confirmed the authenticity of the news, saying, “We have been confirmed that the Court of Appeal has overturned the release ruling issued against the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Sheikh Saleh Al Talib, and issued a ten-year prison sentence against him.”

Saudi authorities had arrested the imam of the Grand Mosque, Saleh Al Talib, in August 2018, as part of a campaign of arrests that targeted a number of preachers and prominent figures in the Kingdom.

But no official explanation was issued for the reason for his arrest.

The arrest of the imam came after he reportedly delivered a sermon criticising mixed public gatherings.

He condemned concerts and events that deviated from the country’s religious and cultural norms.

Talib has a global following, with thousands of people watching his sermons and Quran recitations on YouTube.

Sheikh Saleh Al-Talib was born on January 23, 1974, and his family goes back to Huwtat Bani Taimi, from Hawtat Bani Tamim, which is an ancient family in the Arabian Peninsula famous for its brilliance in the sciences, judiciary, Sharia sciences and the Quran.

It is noteworthy that Sheikh Al-Talib worked for three years as a judge in the high and urgent court in Riyadh, as well as in courts in other governorates, and was a judge in the Great Court in Makkah Al-Mukarramah until his arrest four years ago.

Wave of arrests

Since Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, became the Saudi crown prince in June 2017, dozens of imams, women’s rights activists and members of the ruling royal family have been detained.a

Among those arrested are prominent Islamic preachers Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni, Farhan al-Malki, Mostafa Hassan and Safar al-Hawali.

Similarly, this August, a Saudi appeals court raised the sentence of Saudi citizen Salma Al-Shehab from 6 years in prison to 34 years, followed by a 34-year travel ban, against the background of tweets of solidarity with prisoners of conscience in the Kingdom and demanded their release. 

This post was last modified on August 25, 2022 4:21 pm

Sakina Fatima

Sakina Fatima, a digital journalist with Siasat.com, has a master's degree in business administration and is a graduate in mass communication and journalism. Sakina covers topics from the Middle East, with a leaning towards human interest issues.

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