State Dept. ‘Studying’ 34-Year Sentence Of Saudi Woman Over Twitter Use

The U.S. State Division mentioned Wednesday it’s monitoring the case of a Saudi girl sentenced to 34 years in jail for utilizing Twitter to comply with accounts and share posts crucial of the Kingdom.

Earlier this month, Salma al-Shehab, a PhD pupil within the U.Okay. and mom of two, was sentenced to the prolonged jail time period, adopted by a 34-year journey ban, after she appealed her preliminary sentence, in keeping with The Washington Put up.

By means of her Twitter account, al-Shebab known as for reforms in her nation and for the discharge of well-known activists and intellectuals, in keeping with the BBC.

That is the longest sentence given to a “peaceful activist,” in keeping with human rights teams cited by the Put up, which additionally reported al-Shebab’s cellphone was taken and her account on the social media platform can be completely deleted. For now, her Twitter account remains online.

Ned Value, the State Division’s spokesperson, mentioned the U.S. is “studying” the very fact of al-Shebab’s case, in keeping with The Hill.

“Exercising freedom of expression to advocate for the rights of women should not be criminalized. It should never be criminalized,” Value mentioned.

Value continued: “Freedom of expression is a principle that we stand up for around the world. Anytime any government anywhere tramples on such a principle, we speak out and we seek to defend that fundamental right that is as fundamental to individuals in Saudi Arabia as it is to any country around the world.”

Al-Shebab, a Leeds College pupil and lecturer on the Princess Nourah College in Riyadh, was reportedly detained by Saudi authorities in January 2021, whereas she was visiting the Kingdom over the vacations. She stays in detention.

Her preliminary sentence was round six years, in keeping with human rights teams The Freedom Home and ALQST, cited by the BBC.

However throughout her enchantment, authorities added new costs, together with “assisting those who seek to cause public unrest and destabilise civil and national security by following their Twitter accounts” and sharing their posts, in keeping with the Guardian.

Lina Alhathloul, the top of monitoring and communication for ALQST, a U.Okay.-based NGO selling human rights in Saudi Arabia, known as the sentence “appalling.”

“This appalling sentence makes a mockery of the Saudi authorities’ claims of reform for women and of the legal system, and shows that they remain hellbent on harshly punishing anyone who expresses their opinions freely,” Alhathloul mentioned. “Saudi activists warned Western leaders that giving legitimacy to the crown prince would pave the way for more abuses, which is unfortunately what we are witnessing now.”

Dr. Bethany Al-Haidari, the Saudi case supervisor on the Freedom Initiative, a Washington, D.C.-based NGO working to safe the discharge of prisoners within the Center East and North Africa, echoed Alhathloul in calling for Al-Shebab’s quick launch.

“It is unfortunately no surprise that MBS feels more empowered than ever in presiding over such egregious rights violations. Without any real steps toward accountability, Biden’s trip to Jeddah and the international community’s embrace must feel like a green light” for the punishments, Al-Haidari mentioned.

President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia final month, the place he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who U.S. intelligence businesses have concluded was behind the homicide of Washington Put up journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Biden sought to justify the journey, claiming he would safe commitments from MBS to extend gasoline provide, subsequently reducing gasoline costs at house, in addition to higher therapy of dissidents.