Amnesty International says a journalist in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to five years in prison and given an eight-year travel ban over messages he posted to Twitter.

The rights group says Alaa Brinji was found guilty Thursday of charges including insulting Saudi rulers, inciting public opinion and accusing security forces of killing protesters in the kingdom's predominantly Shiite east.

James Lynch, deputy director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program, said in a statement Friday that Brinji was "the latest victim of Saudi Arabia's ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent."

Brinji's sentencing in a counter-terrorism court was not reported in Saudi state-run media. Saudi officials could not be reached for comment.

The Committee to Protect Journalists describes Saudi Arabia as the third-most restrictive country in the world for reporters.