Pakistani analyst and commentator Zaid Hamid has been sentenced for eight years in jail and 1,000 lashes by a Saudi court for criticising the Saudi government, according to local media reports. However, the news has not been corroborated by the Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh or the Foreign Office.
Earlier, Hamid was arrested during a private visit to the Kingdom with his wife. He was apparently taken into custody after making statements against the Saudi government.
On June 26, the Foreign Office confirmed Hamid had been arrested in Saudi Arabia.
“Our embassy in Riyadh has informed us that Mr Zaid Hamid was arrested about two weeks ago. Since then, the embassy has been working with the local authorities to get consular access,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah had told a news briefing in Islamabad.
“Due to the efforts of the embassy, his wife was able to talk to him. Again, due to the efforts of the embassy, his wife will be able to meet with him on 30 June,” he said without giving further details.
In 2013, a former aide who left Hamid’s organisation accused him of being on the payrolls of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency to wage psychological operations against those opposed to the Pakistani security establishment.