On August 15, Saudi women’s rights activist Salma al-Shehab was sentenced to 34 years in prison for her activism on Twitter.
Doctor of Dentistry from the University of Leeds, in England, Salma al-Shehab regularly published messages in favor of women’s rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
According to a court document to which AFP had access, a Saudi court sentenced Salma to 34 years in prison for having “provided assistance”, through her tweets, to political opponents who seek to “disturb public order” and publish “rumors”. false and biased” on Twitter.
The mother of two children and a doctoral student resided in Great Britain. However, during a visit to her home in Saudi Arabia in January 2021, she was arrested a few days before her planned return trip.
Salma belongs to the Shiite minority, which is discriminated against and persecuted in the Sunni country. She was initially sentenced to six years in prison, before the sentence was increased to 34 years on appeal.
In addition, it has a travel ban for another 34 years. Salma has around 2,500 followers on her Twitter profile. In addition to her virtual activism on her social network, she supported campaigns to end the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, as well as women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
Following the sentencing, the independent human rights organization ALQST, based in London, England, spoke of an “unprecedented and dangerous” verdict and a possible step towards further escalation against activists in the country, who have been arbitrarily sentenced in recent years and, in some cases, severely tortured.
in the #Saudi authorities’ longest prison sentence ever for a peaceful activist, the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal on 9 August handed down terms totaling 34 years without suspension to women’s rights campaigner Salma al-Shehab. #SaudiArabiahttps://t.co/3bRLwqioec pic.twitter.com/fYgVrATNFX
— ALQST for Human Rights (@ALQST_En) August 15, 2022
In the longest prison sentence ever imposed by the Saudi authorities on a peaceful activist, on August 9, the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal handed down sentences totaling 34 years without suspension to women’s rights activist Salma al -Shehab. #SaudiArabia
Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has given new rights to women, such as the right to drive or travel alone.
However, various non-governmental organizations regularly single out the kingdom for serious human rights abuses, including the crackdown on political dissidents and feminist activists.