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Woman sentenced to 45 years in prison for social media posts

Woman sentenced to 45 years in prison for social media posts

A woman in Saudi Arabia has been jailed as a result of social media posts criticising the government.

A woman from Saudi Arabia has been jailed for a staggering 45 years for posts on her social media accounts.

Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani was convicted 'likely within the last week' by Saudi Arabia Specialised Criminal Court on charges of 'using the internet to tear the (Saudi) social fabric' and 'violating public order by using social media'.

Little is known about what Qahtani posted on social media to be given such a lengthy sentence, and as a result, the Washington-based Dawn organisation are continuing to investigate her case.

A woman was sentenced to 45 years in jail for her social media posts.
Alamy Stock Photo

This conviction follows a similar one only a few weeks ago where Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and doctoral candidate at the University of Leeds, was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter.

Shehab's sentencing also included a 34-year travel ban, which some Western countries have raised concerns about.

Both women's sentencing also came shortly after President Biden had said that human right concerns were a huge factor towards a fractious relationship between Washington and its traditional ally Riyadh.

The US president raised the matter during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July.

The White House had said that in the last week, 'significant concerns' had been discussed with Saudi Arabia over Shehab's sentencing.

Prince Mohammed had improved aspects of human rights in Saudi Arabia, including allowing women to drive and pushing projects to create jobs.

Joe Biden's visit last month brought relatives of Saudi prisoners hope that their loved ones would be released as part of the suspected crackdown.

Abdullah al-Aoudh, Director of Research for the Gulf Region at DAWN, has said that Saudi used 'abusive' laws to jail both Qahtani and Shehab for criticising the government on social media.

Joe Biden met with Saudi Prince Salman in July.
BBC News/YouTube

The statement read: "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."

Saudi officials have dismissed such speculation though, saying the kingdom does not have any political prisoners.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, 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.

"The notion that they would be described as political prisoners is ridiculous."

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Featured Image Credit: Vladimir Stanisic / Alamy Stock Photo Pixel-shot / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Crime, World News