Saudi woman gets 45 years in prison for social media use

DUBAI: A Saudi court has sentenced a woman to 45 years in prison for allegedly harming the country through her social media activity, according to a court document obtained Wednesday. . It is the second such sentence that has drawn the kingdom’s scrutiny this month.
Little is known about Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani, who hails from one of the largest tribes in Saudi Arabia and has no clear history of activity. An official allegation that the Associated Press and human rights groups describes her case involves her use of social media, though Saudi officials did not respond to a request for comment. .
The sentence came after international outcry over a similar 34-year prison sentence awarded to Salma al-Shehab, a Saudi Arabian doctoral student at the University of Leeds in the UK.
Earlier this month, a specialized criminal court in Riyadh handed down a 45-year sentence under the kingdom’s broad anti-terrorism and cybercrime laws. That court, which normally handles political and national security cases, delivered the verdict during al-Qahtani’s appeal against her earlier conviction.
The judges charged al-Qahtani with “breaking the cohesion of society” and “destabilizing the fabric of society,” according to the indictment, citing her activity on social media. They accused al-Qahtani of “offending public order through information networks.”
It remains unclear what al-Qahtani posted online or where the hearing was held. She was arrested on July 4, 2021, according to the Washington-based Human Rights Watch, Democrats for the Arab World Now, which is critical of the kingdom.
“This seems like the beginning of a new wave of convictions and convictions by new judges being brought into specialized criminal courts,” Abdullah AlaoudhDAWN Regional Director.
The Freedom InitiativeAnother Washington-based human rights group, also denounced al-Qahtani’s “excessively long” prison sentence.
“It is very difficult to ignore the fact that we are viewing these verses as (Crown Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) has received increasing legitimacy in the international arena,” Allison McManusresearch director of the group.
Sayings on social media have drawn renewed attention to Crown Prince Mohammed’s crackdown on dissent, even as the radical Islamic nation has granted women new freedoms such as the right Driver.
Chairperson Joe Biden traveled to the oil-rich kingdom in July to meet Crown Prince Mohammed, in which he said he confronted him on human rights. Biden comes to power vows to make Saudi Arabia “defender” over Saudi journalist’s murder in 2018 Jamal Khashoggi.

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