Saudi woman Nourah Bint Saeed Al-Qahtani sentenced to 45 years in prison for social media ‘violations’

Dubai, August 31: A Saudi court has sentenced a woman to 45 years in prison for allegedly damaging the country through her social media activities, according to court documents obtained Wednesday.

It was the second such statement to attract the Kingdom’s scrutiny this month.

Little is known about Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani. He is one of the largest tribesmen in Saudi Arabia and has no clear history of activity. Saudi woman Salma Al-Shehab has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for using Twitter.

Official indictments seen by the Associated Press and human rights groups describe her case as involving her use of social media, but Saudi officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The ruling follows international protests against a similar 34-year prison sentence for Salma Al-Shehab, a Saudi PhD student at the University of Leeds in the UK.

Earlier this month, a specialized criminal court handed down a 45-year sentence under the Kingdom’s broad counter-terrorism and cybercrime law.

The court, which typically deals with political and national security cases, handed down the sentence on appeal of Alcatani’s previous conviction.

Citing her activities on social media, the judge accused Al-Qatani of “disrupting social cohesion” and “destabilizing the fabric of society,” according to the indictment.

They claimed that Alcatani “disturbed public order through information networks.”

It remains unclear what al Qahtani posted online or where her hearing took place.

She was detained on July 4, 2021, according to the Washington-based human rights watchdog, Democracy for the Arab World Now, which is critical of the kingdom.

“This seems to be the beginning of a new wave of sentencing and convictions by new judges stationed in specialized criminal courts,” said Abdullah Alauh, Regional Director of DAWN.

Another Washington-based human rights group, the Freedom Initiative, also condemned al-Qahtani’s “extremely long” prison sentence.

“It is very difficult to ignore the fact that we are looking at these verdicts as (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) has gained more legitimacy in the international arena,” said Alison, the group’s head of research. McManus said.

Even as the ultra-conservative Islamic state grants women new freedoms like the right to drive, social media rulings have once again brought attention to Prince Mohammed’s crackdown on dissent.

President Joe Biden said in July that he traveled to the oil-rich kingdom to meet with Prince Mohammed and confronted him about human rights.

Biden took office vowing to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi woman Nourah Bint Saeed Al-Qahtani sentenced to 45 years in prison for social media ‘violations’

Show More
Back to top button