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Salma al-Shehab: 34 years in prison for Saudi women's rights activist


Salma al-Shehab's Twitter account didn't even have 3,000 followers. Nevertheless, a court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced her to an unprecedented sentence, saying she is a danger to "civil and national security".

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Salma al-Shehab

The student Salma al-Shehab has been sentenced to 34 years in prison in Saudi Arabia for repeatedly speaking out for women's rights on Twitter and retweeting posts by exiled Saudi dissidents.

Among other things, al-Shehab had also campaigned for the Saudi women's rights activist Loujain Hathloul, who was arrested in 2018 and released from prison in 2021.

The mother of two, who studied in Leeds, England, was arrested in January 2021 while vacationing in Saudi Arabia.

From three to 34 years

Originally, al-Shebab was sentenced to three years in prison for using a website to "incite public unrest and destabilize civil and national security," according to the Guardian.

An appeals court on Monday increased the sentence to 34 years - the highest ever sentence for such an offense in Saudi Arabia - followed by 34 years of a travel ban.

A prosecutor had asked the court to examine other alleged crimes.

According to the report, the new charges include allegations that Shehab "supported those who seek to stir up public disorder and destabilize civil and national security by following their Twitter accounts" and continued to tweet her tweets.

Al-Shebab's reach on the social network was modest, she had just 2,597 followers on Twitter.

In addition to pictures of her young children, Shehab also retweeted tweets from exiled Saudi dissidents calling for the release of political prisoners in the kingdom.

According to reports from human rights organizations, the Saudi regime is currently taking tougher action against the women's rights movement than before.

In addition to the verdict against al-Shehab, the sentences of "many other women" are said to have been increased, according to a spokeswoman for the US NGO Freedom Initiative.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-08-17

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