New Saudi counterterrorism law aims to silence critics: HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has strongly denounced Saudi Arabia’s new counterterrorism law, saying it could be used to further stifle dissent across the kingdom.

The New York-based group said in a statement on Thursday that the law, introduced earlier this month, could further enable authorities in the ultra-conservative kingdom to silence critics.

“Saudi authorities are already methodically silencing and locking away peaceful critics on spurious charges,” the statement read.

In early February, HRW said Saudi Arabia had stepped up the politically-motivated arrests, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners since the beginning of the current year.

The kingdom has also stepped up security measures in the Shia-majority Eastern Province, which has seen numerous protest rallies against religious persecution.