34 years in prison for a Saudi woman for behavior on Twitter
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A woman from Saudi Arabia was sentenced on appeal to 34 years in prison for her behavior on Twitter, according to The Guardian. After being sentenced to prison, she still has to deal with a travel ban that also lasts for 34 years. The woman followed the accounts of opponents and activists on the social media platform and published some of their posts.
Salma Al-Shehab, 34, was arrested in January 2021 while on vacation in Saudi Arabia. She was a mother of two studying at the University of Leeds, England at the time.
She was initially sentenced to a few years in prison for, among other things, using social media to “stoke public unrest”. The penalty is much higher on appeal, because new charges have been included.
The shooting star helped people “who want to provoke public unrest and who want to destabilize social and national security,” according to court documents. The judges said she did so by following their Twitter accounts and posting their messages further.
The Saudi woman has defended herself by saying that she does not pose a security risk, in part due to her lack of followers. She also said she spent 285 days in solitary confinement, the Washington Post reported. According to the American newspaper, Al-Shehab belongs to the Shiite sect, a persecuted minority in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi woman was not known as a prominent activist, according to The Guardian. on me Twitter She has a few thousand followers. Among her private tweets are messages calling for the release of political prisoners in the Gulf state, among whom is the well-known Loujain al-Hathloul. He fought for the right of women to drive and was released in 2021, but was not allowed to leave Saudi Arabia in the coming years.
Al-Shehab’s conviction comes a few weeks after US President Biden visited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two also spoke about human rights, but Biden visited the country primarily in the role of a merchant.
He called for increased oil production in the hope that the Americans would notice at the pump. This call was not answered by the Saudi autocrat.
The Washington Post concludes in its commentary that bin Salman’s commitments on human rights have turned into a “farce”.
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