A Saudi appeals court in Riyadh asked the lower court to reconsider the its sentence issued last December against a Shia cleric to 3 years in jail and a 5-year travel ban, the daily Okaz reported Saturday. The court reportedly asked for a tougher sentence against Tawfiq al-Amer, a preacher from al-Ahsa region in the Eastern Province who was detained in August 2011 after he called for political reform and a constitutional monarchy in Saudi Arabia. The government is accusing al-Amer of ten charges, including “incitement of public opinion” and calling for political change by challenging the state and provoking citizens.
The newspaper reported that it has read the legal documents of the case against al-Amer but referred to him using his initials only. According to the documents, the newspaper said, the public prosecutor is also accusing al-Amer of publicly insulting the prophet’s family and companions, a charge that his lawyer denied on Twitter. Attorney Sadeq al-Jubran described the accusation as an attempt to smear the reputation of his client. “Tell us where and when did Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer insult the prophet’s family,” he said.