After being imprisoned since July 2021, Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani is now being sentenced to 45 years in prison for using the internet to “demolish the social fabric” and “violate public order”, reports the American non-profit organization Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn).
According to Dawn regional director Abdullah Alaoudh, Qahtani appears to have been convicted simply for tweeting his views.
The Arabic daily newspaper Elnassrnews writes that she continuously published her views on Saudi affairs and is followed by more than 6,000 Saudis.
– Nothing from her court documents refers to any violence or criminal activity, Alaoudh says, adding:
– The accusations against her are really broad. The court refers to anti-terrorism and cybercrime laws, which criminalize any post on social media that is even remotely critical of the government.
Not the first
Several other female activists have reportedly been taken prisoner in Saudi Arabia after posting on social media. Alaoudh fears that they too may be sentenced to long prison terms.
Earlier in August, Salma al-Shehab, a doctoral student at the University of Leeds in Great Britain and mother of two, was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
She was detained during a trip to Saudi Arabia in January 2021 and convicted of “giving support to those who try to disrupt public order” and “publishing false and tendentious rumours”.
Before Shehab left England, she had called for reforms and the release of prominent activists jailed in Saudi Arabia following a crackdown overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.