(MENAFN - Arab News) A man facing trial for allegedly spreading sedition and undermining national security demanded an apology from the public prosecutor who he said had made dangerously exaggerated accusations against him at a hearing in Riyadh yesterday.
The defendant, a preacher and academic who used to prepare school syllabi, made the demand while making his defense statement at the special summary court in Riyadh.
The sitting judge, however, stopped the heated argument between the defendant and the prosecutor and adjourned the court, stating the next hearings would be set apart for the defense of the remaining seven defendants.
"I affirm my denial of all charges made by the public prosecutor against me because there is no element of truth in his accusations," the defendant said in a supplementary statement submitted at the beginning of the session, adding the charges against him were distorted.
He said he never criticized any justice institutions or security departments in the Kingdom as alleged by the prosecutor.
He was only criticizing the way regulations were implemented, the defendant said. He also said he wondered why he was being singled out for prosecution when the print and electronic media, which used to criticize several government departments, have never been charged with sedition.
"My arrest was carried out in an illegal manner. My computer, private CDs that contained some media articles and family letters, and email messages were seized," he said.
The defendant continued to argue his innocence, adding the school syllabus he was preparing on fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) is being taught in middle and secondary schools.
He added many religious scholars praised the syllabus.
He said he spent six years preparing the syllabus and refused several employment opportunities because of his devoted efforts to complete the syllabus.
A member of the Saudi Human Rights Commission and reporters were present at the hearing yesterday.