Saudi PhD student sentenced to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting activists

  • A Saudi PhD student has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting dissidents.
  • She was accused of helping people who wanted to harm national security by following her parents.
  • Rights groups say it is the longest sentence for an activist and could signal an even bigger crackdown.

A Saudi Arabian PhD student has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter. The Guardian reportsCiting translated court documents.

Salma al-Shehab, 34, was studying at the University of Leeds in the UK and was questioned, arrested and prosecuted by authorities when she went home to Saudi Arabia for a holiday in December 2020. The Guardian reports.

Al-Shehab, who is married with two children, was first sentenced to three years in prison for “using the website to cause public unrest and destabilize civil and national security,” the Guardian reported.

But on Monday, an appeals court sentenced her to a longer sentence for Twitter accounts she followed and retweeted, reports said.

She was sentenced to a total of 34 years in prison followed by a 34-year travel ban, The Guardian reported.

The Washington Post Also recorded punishment European Saudi Organization for Human Rights and US-based nonprofits Freedom initiative.

Translated court documents seen by The Guardian said al-Shehab “is accused of fomenting public unrest and aiding those who seek to destabilize civil and national security through their Twitter accounts.”

According to The Guardian, she had retweeted Saudi dissidents demanding the release of political prisoners held in Saudi Arabia. The Post reported that she also advocated for women’s right to drive, a policy that was allowed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2018, though activists Still in prison.

The Guardian noted that al-Shehab did not have a large online following – she had about 2,500 followers – and that she was not known as an activist, with many of her tweets being about her children.

She will be able to appeal, The Guardian said.

Twitter declined to comment to The Guardian on Al-Shehab’s case. The government of Saudi Arabia has a significant investment in Twitter, The Guardian noted.

Both the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights and Freedom Initiative said al-Shehab’s sentence was the longest prison sentence ever handed down to an activist and could signal a further crackdown on dissent.

Human rights groups say Saudi Arabia repeatedly arrested People who disagree with the government – sometimes years after they have made any public criticism.

This includes the arrest of dozens of people when Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, became crown prince in 2017. Since then he has been considered as the de facto ruler of the state.

Two senior Saudis were arrested in 2020 for not supporting him, sources close to the royal family said. The Associated Press said So is MBS at that time Many political figures were jailed whom he considered a threat to his hold on power.

Source link

Leave a Comment