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Saudi court upholds dissidents' jail terms

[JURIST] A Saudi court on Monday upheld the six to nine year prison sentences for three campaigners who advocated democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia. Ali Ghothami, a lawyer representing Matruk al-Faleh, Abdullah al-Hamed and Ali Dumaini, said he was told by a Riyadh judge that the court had denied all of the appeals to their May 2005 sentences. In their appeal, the men said the case against them contained numerous judicial violations and that the three-judge panel sentencing them was not impartial. They also claimed the judges allowed prosecutors to introduce evidence unrelated to the initial charges. After one public court session in August 2004 [JURIST report], the remaining sessions were held behind closed doors [JURIST report], against the wishes of the three men. Supporters of the reformists say the case highlights the limits of the Saudi Arabia's modest reform program. Reuters has more.

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