A Saudi Arabian court sentenced a woman to 45 years in jail over social media remarks, according to a rights organization, in the latest example of a crackdown on women activists after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the country.
The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court convicted Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani “likely within the last week” on charges of “using the internet to tear the (Saudi) social fabric” and “violating public order by using social media,” according to a statement issued by the Washington-based DAWN organization, citing court documents.
The new arrests occurred after Biden raised human rights concerns at a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July, a key source of friction between Washington and its longstanding ally Riyadh.
Last Monday, the United States expressed “grave concerns” to Saudi Arabia over Shehab’s sentence, which included a 34-year travel restriction for her tweets.
The Qahtani and Shehab instances highlighted a crackdown on dissent led by Prince Mohammed, the de facto Saudi ruler, despite his support for reforms such as permitting women to drive and promoting job-creation programs.