Saudi woman sentenced to 34 years in prison for following, retweeting dissidents on Twitter

A 34-year-old Saudi girl, arrested final yr, has been sentenced to 34 years in jail for reportedly following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter, prompting human rights organisations to sentence the tough ruling. The girl, who’s a PhD scholar at UK’s Leeds College, had returned dwelling for holidays when she was booked, reported The Guardian.

The ruling is reportedly one of many longest jail sentences given to a Saudi girl’s rights defender.

Salma al-Shehab was initially sentenced to 3 years in jail by a particular terrorist court docket. The court docket stated that Shehab used an web web site to “trigger public unrest and destabilise civil and nationwide safety”. Later, on Monday, an appeals court docket revised it to 34 years of imprisonment and a 34-year journey ban.

A number of human rights organisations, together with the Human Rights Basis, The Freedom Initiative, the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights and ALQST for Human Rights, have condemned the ruling and known as for her launch.

“We name on Saudi authorities to free Salma, permitting her to return to look after the kids and to finish her research safely in the UK,” stated The Freedom Initiative in a press release. “Tweeting in solidarity with ladies’s rights activists is just not against the law, ” it added.

A Guardian report stated that court docket paperwork allege that Shehab was “aiding those that search to trigger public unrest and destabilise civil and nationwide safety by following their Twitter accounts” and by re-tweeting their tweets. The report added that she is hardly a outstanding activist within the nation or overseas, having 2,597 followers on Twitter and 159 followers on Instagram.

The USA Fee on Worldwide Non secular Freedom stated: “Shehab’s spiritual identification as a Shi’a Muslim is believed to have been a consider her arrest and harsh sentencing.”

In the meantime, the Berlin-based European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) described Shehab as “a specialist in oral and dental drugs, a PhD scholar on the College of Leeds, UK, and a lecturer at Princess Nourah College”, who’s married and has two younger sons. She was arrested on January 15, 2021, days earlier than she was scheduled to return to the UK, stated stories.

“The Public Prosecution accused her of a number of fees, together with undermining the safety of society and the soundness of the state, spreading sedition, offering assist to those that search to disrupt public order, and spreading false and malicious rumours on Twitter. Appeals court docket judges invoked the counterterrorism regime and its financing to justify the tough ruling, regardless that all fees in opposition to her relate to her Twitter exercise,” ESOHR stated in a press release.

“Salma was lively throughout campaigns demanding the lifting of the guardianship system over ladies by their male family members. She additionally known as for freedom for female and male prisoners of conscience, resembling human rights defender Loujain Al-Hathloul and members of ACPRA,” it added.

The sentencing comes weeks after US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on July 15. Biden was criticised for assembly with the Arab chief who has been accused of a number of human rights violations, together with the ordering of the assassination of Saudi critic and Washington Publish columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

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