Saudi Arabia frees 82-year-old former judge after 5 years

A Saudi human rights group says an 82-year-old former judge and prominent rights advocate has been freed after five years in prison.

Sulaiman al-Rashudi was president of the now-dissolved Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, also known by its Arabic acronym as HASM. In 2011, he was convicted for helping establish HASM and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He remained free on bail until 2012, when the former judge who studied Islamic law, was arrested after saying that demonstrations are not religiously forbidden.

The London-based ALQST Saudi rights group said on Wednesday al-Rashudi was released on Tuesday.

Al-Rashudi had been also detained in the 1990s, in 2004 and in 2007 for his rights activism and calls for political reform in the absolute monarchy.