Nourah bint Saeed Qahtani, Saudi female activist, received a sentence to prison for around half a century. Qahtani’s main conviction was actively engaging in social media.
According to a rights organization, a court in Saudi Arabia issued a 45-year prison term for an activist on social media. This is regarded as the most recent instance of a crackdown on females that have occurred since U.S. President visited the country.
An announcement by the DAWN organization explains that Nourah bint Saeed Qahtani was found guilty of disrupting common good by using social network by the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court possibly during the last week. Qahtani also faced the sentence on the ground of “using the internet to shred the social fabric.”
Requests for reaction from the Saudi administration’s communications office were left unanswered. Little information is accessible about Qahtani or what she has posted on social media, according to DAWN.
A few weeks after Salma al-Shehab was given a 35-year prison term for following and retweeting other campaigners and activists on Twitter, Qahtani was found guilty. The mother of two children and PhD candidate at the British university of Leeds is currently incarcerated in Saudi Arabia.
The most recent series of crackdown happened after US president raised concerns about human rights during his talks with the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince more than a month earlier. The rights issue has long been a source of friction between the two countries, longstanding allies. Particularly after the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, the US adopted more direct stances.
Last week, Washington claimed to have expressed “serious concerns” to Riyadh over Shehab’s sentence. Shehab received a 34-year travel restriction as part of her sentence for her comments. Biden administration, however, manifested a turn of policy towards Riyadh due to economic constraints.
Qahtani after Shehab
The prosecution of critics and activists under Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was highlighted by the Qahtani and Shehab instances. While he has promoted apparent reforms like allowing female community to take a drivers’ license and supported initiatives to create jobs, the de-facto Saudi ruler adopts the new policy.
Initially, family members of Saudi political detainees hoped that Biden’s visit might contribute to the liberation of relatives who had been imprisoned as a result of the new crackdown. Saudi officials utilized “abusive” regulations in both the Shehab and Qahtani instances, according to DAWN’s head of studies for the Persian Gulf area. These regulations were used to target and penalize Saudi nationals for condemning the regime on Twitter, according to Abdullah al-Aoudh.
Aoudh further explains that “this is only half the story because even the crown prince would not allow such vindictive and excessive sentences if he felt that these actions would be met by meaningful censure by the United States and other Western governments. Clearly, they are not.”
According to Saudi authorities, there are no political prisoners in the country. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabian minister of foreign affairs, has claimed in a talks with reporters that: “We have prisoners in Saudi Arabia who have committed crimes and who were put to trial by our courts and were found guilty.” It’s absurd to suggest that they may be classified as political prisoners, he said.
Tensions around the human rights situation of Saudi Arabia has damaged country’s reputation among international societies. The primary grounds of contention were women’s issues and the assassination and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi 4 years ago.
Saudi long-year war in Yemen, which brought about a humanitarian catastrophe across the country, was of the main reasons behind the Saudi defamation.