DUBAI : A Saudi court sentenced a man to 10 years in jail and a 100,000 riyal ($26,700) fine for joining protests against the kingdom’s rulers and using Twitter to urge people to do the same, state news agency SPA has said.

SPA quoted Justice Ministry spokesman Fahd al-Bakran as saying the unidentified defendant had also retweeted messages against the monarchy, Muslim scholars and security services.

“(He was) convicted of entering an Internet site hostile to the state that encourages fighting and promotes deviant thought,” Bakran said, referring to al Qaeda ideology.

The man, who has been in jail for three years, was charged and convicted under laws that criminalise internet abuse. The verdict was announced two days after Saudi Arabia designated the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as terrorist organisations.

The decree applies to Saudis and foreign residents who join, endorse or give moral or material aid to groups classified as terrorist or extremist, whether inside or outside the country.

The Brotherhood renounced violence decades ago, unlike the other two banned groups, which are inspired by al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia recently ratified an anti-terrorism law that rights campaigners have criticised as a tool to stifle diss