Saudi woman gets 45 years in prison for sharing opinions online: Human rights group


A Saudi woman has been sentenced to nearly half a century in prison for sharing her views online, a human rights group has reported.

According to Democracy for the Arab World Now, Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani was sentenced in August to 45 years in prison by the appeals division of Saudi Arabia’s specialized criminal court (breaking dawn)cited court documents.

According to DAWN, the woman’s age is unknown and she was charged with “destroying the social fabric of the kingdom” by criticizing the Saudi ruler and “creating and storing materials that affect public order and morals and religious values.” was convicted of

The ruling also alleged that she had “violated public order and morals by using social media” under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The Washington-based DAWN noted that specialized criminal courts “have jurisdiction over terrorism and security-related cases through overly broad and vague anti-terrorism laws.”

Al-Qahtani’s sentence comes just weeks after Leeds University PhD student Salma al-Shehab was sentenced to 34 years in prison for similar charges related to her Twitter account. Human Rights Watch.

“Just weeks after Salma Al-Shehab’s shocking 34-year sentence this month, al-Qahtani’s 45-year sentence appears to have simply been a tweet of her opinion, but Saudi officials “It shows how bold we feel to punish even the mildest criticism from the public.” Abdullah Aloud, Director of Gulf Studies at DAWN, said:

“It’s impossible not to connect the dots”

Aloud said there had been an increase in “repressive attacks” against individuals who dared speak out about the Saudi government’s human rights abuses since US President Joe Biden’s visit to the country in July.

Biden defended a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The failure to link Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with President Biden in Jeddah last month to an increase in repressive attacks on those who dare to criticize him and the Saudi government for well-documented human rights abuses. I can’t stay,” said Aloud. He said.

Saudi Arabia has been repeatedly accused by human rights groups and UN agencies of human rights abuses and laws restricting political and religious expression, such as the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Cyber ​​Crime Countermeasures Act.

The 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi government and who came up with the idea for DAWN, is tied to the crown prince.

But officials in the country have denied any connection between the crown prince and Khashoggi’s death, denied accusations of human rights violations, and said the law would help protect national security.

“In both al-Shebab and al-Qahtani cases, Saudi authorities used abusive laws to target and punish Saudi citizens who criticized the government on Twitter,” said Aloud. “But this is only half the story, because even the crown prince would allow such persuasive over-sentencing if he felt that he would be subject to meaningful censorship by the United States and other Western governments. Because it doesn’t. Obviously, it doesn’t.”

Katavera Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on US, world and business news.