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Originally published Monday, February 20, 2012 at 1:46 AM

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Saudi activist acquitted after 5 years' detention

A Saudi court has acquitted a rights activist who spent five years in detention accused of supporting al-Qaida's ideology.

The Associated Press

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia —

A Saudi court has acquitted a rights activist who spent five years in detention accused of supporting al-Qaida's ideology.

The Saudi Press Agency says a court in the capital Riyadh on Sunday threw out the charges against Said bin Zeghair for lack of evidence.

Bin Zeghair, a professor at an Islamic university in Riyadh, has long been advocating liberalization and reforms in the kingdom. His trial was attended by family members and representatives of rights groups and the media.

Bin Zeghair was first detained in 1995 but was freed after nine years without being charged or tried. Later he was sentenced to five years in prison but was pardoned when King Abdullah ascended to the throne in 2005. He was later detained in 2007.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - A Saudi court has acquitted a right activist who spent five years in detention accused of supporting al-Qaida's ideology.

The Saudi Press Agency says a court in the capital Riyadh on Sunday threw out the charges against Said bin Zeghair for lack of evidence.

Bin Zeghair, a professor at an Islamic university in Riyadh, has long been advocating liberalization and reforms in the kingdom. His trial was attended by family members and representatives of rights groups and the media.

Bin Zeghair was first detained in 1995 but was freed after nine years without being charged or tried. Later he was sentenced to five years in prison but was pardoned when King Abdullah ascended to the throne in 2005.

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