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Saudi Arabian Court Sentences A Woman To 45 Years For Social Media Postings


Experts advise people to think twice before pressing a smartphone's "post" or "send" button because doing so can have drastic consequences, as is being seen in various parts of the country. One example of this is when a Saudi Arabian court sentences a woman to 45 years for social media postings.

This is the latest example of a crackdown on women activists that started after Vice President Joe Biden visited the kingdom. A Saudi woman named Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani was found guilty "likely within the last week" on charges of "using the internet to tear the (Saudi) social fabric. DAWN, an organization based in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that court documents show that the woman also breaks the law by using social media.

In response to a request for comment, the media office of the Saudi government did not provide a response. DAWN stated that very little was known about Qahtani or what was said on her social media accounts, and that the organization was continuing to look into her case.

A few weeks before Qahtani's conviction, a British mother of two and doctoral student at the University of Leeds, Salma al-Shehab, was given 35 years in prison for following and retweeting tweets from dissidents and activists on Twitter.

The most recent cases occurred after Biden brought up human rights concerns during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July, which has become a major source of friction between Washington and its longtime ally Riyadh. Washington claimed last week that it had expressed "significant concerns" to Saudi Arabia about Shehab's sentence, which included a 34-year travel ban for her tweets.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/saudi-arabian-court-sentences-a-woman-to-45-years-for-social-media-postings/ by Tyrese Griffin on 2022-08-31T01:41:25.073Z

The Qahtani and Shehab cases showed how Prince Mohammed, the real ruler of Saudi Arabia, is cracking down on dissent even though he has pushed for reforms like letting women drive and projects to create jobs.

At first, the families of Saudi political prisoners hoped that Biden's visit would help free their loved ones who had been jailed during the crackdown.

Abdullah al-Aoudh, who is the Director of Research for the Gulf Region at DAWN, said that in both the Shebab and Qahtani cases, Saudi authorities used "abusive" laws to target and punish Saudi citizens for criticizing the government on Twitter. Aoudh stated in the DAWN statement:

But this is only half the story because even the crown prince would not allow such vindictive and excessive sentences if he felt that these actions would be met by meaningful censure by the United States and other Western governments. Clearly, they are not.


According to Saudi officials, the kingdom has no political prisoners. Adel al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told Reuters last month:

"We have prisoners in Saudi Arabia who have committed crimes and who were put to trial by our courts and were found guilty."

Human rights issues have caused tensions between oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United States. Women's rights and the killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 are among these issues.

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About The Authors

Tyrese Griffin

Tyrese Griffin - Tyrese started her education in the performing arts at the prestigious Alexander Hamilton Academy in Los Angeles. She returned to civilian life after serving in the United States Army as a tracked vehicle operator, and started writing short stories and screenplays, as well as directing short films and music videos. She has published six novels, which have sold over 200,000 copies, as well as audiobooks and short stories for anthologies, and has earned several awards.

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