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Saudi Arabia Sentences Leeds University Researcher To 34 Years In Jail For Social Media Posts

Amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on dissent, a Saudi court has sentenced a doctoral student to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents.

Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and a researcher at Leeds University in Britain, (pictured on the right above), was accused of “disturbing public order” and “destabilizing the social fabric” – claims stemming solely from her social media activity, according to an official charge sheet.

Additionally, they alleged al-Shehab followed and retweeted dissident accounts on Twitter and “transmitted false rumors.”

A special court for terrorism and national security crimes handed down the unusually harsh 34-year sentence, to be followed by a 34-year travel ban. The decision came earlier this month as al-Shehab appealed her initial sentence of six years.

Her account only had 2,000 followers, including apparently the Saudi security services.

Activists are shocked at the sentence – even by the draconian standards of The Kingdom’s Sharia Law:

“Saudi Arabia has boasted to the world that they are improving women’s rights and creating legal reform, but there is no question with this abhorrent sentence that the situation is only getting worse,” said Bethany al-Haidari, The Freedom Initiative’s Saudi case manager.

The US State Department said it was “studying the case.”

“Exercising freedom of expression to advocate for the rights of women should not be criminalized, it should never be criminalized,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

This case was pending when President Biden went to Saudi Arabia and fist bumped the man who also murdered US journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

This post was originally published on this site

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