Saudi activist gets 34 years in prison for using Twitter

Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced a women’s rights activist to 34 years in prison for her Twitter activity, reports The Washington Post.

why is it important: The case against Salma al-Shehab marks the country’s longest sentence against an activist, reigniting fears among government critics, writes the Post.

  • She was accused of using Twitter to “disrupt public order, undermine the security of society and the stability of the state, and support those who have committed criminal actions in accordance with the Anti-Terror Law and its funding,” according to court records obtained by the Post.

The big picture: The charges are charges frequently used against kingdom activists who challenge the status quo, the Post writes.

Details: Al-Shehab was arrested in January 2021 while on vacation in Saudi Arabia.

  • Court records indicate that Al-Shehab supported the criminals by following their social media accounts, retweeting their posts and spreading false rumours.

By the numbers: She was originally given a six-year sentence, but this was increased to 34 years after she appealed the initial sentence.

  • It was decided that his prison sentence was not long enough “in view of his crimes”, according to court records, and that his previous sentence had not “shown restraint and deterrence”.
  • She was also banned from traveling outside Saudi Arabia for 34 years after her sentence ended.

What they say : The Saudi European Human Rights Organization called al-Shehab’s sentencing “unprecedented and dangerous”.

  • “Salma’s conviction under the counter-terrorism and financial system confirms that Saudi Arabia treats those who demand reform and criticism on social media as terrorists, in addition to the deep flaws in this system,” the statement said. association.
  • “The Saudi government continues to practice its grave violations against women activists without hesitation.”

To note: The US State Department said Wednesday it was “investigating” the case, CNN reported.

  • As Biden was at a summit in Saudi Arabia last month, he called on Gulf countries to guarantee human rights and that people be allowed ‘to question and criticize leaders without fear of reprisal’. .
  • The US president once vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” because of its human rights record.

Go further: US working on normalization ‘roadmap’ for Saudi Arabia and Israel

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