A Saudi woman gets a 45-year prison sentence for social media use that remains unclear

by | Aug 31, 2022 | Top Stories

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Saudi court has sentenced a woman to 45 years in prison for allegedly damaging the country through her social media activity, according to a court document obtained Wednesday. It was the second such sentence that has drawn scrutiny of the kingdom this month. Little is known about Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani, who hails from one of the biggest tribes in Saudi Arabia and has no apparent history of activism. An official charge sheet seen by The Associated Press and human rights groups describes her case as involving her social media use, though Saudi officials did not respond to requests for comment. The sentence follows international outcry over a similar 34-year prison sentence handed down to Salma al-Shehab, a Saudi doctoral student at Leeds University in England.

Earlier this month, a specialized criminal court delivered the 45-year sentence under the kingdom’s broad counterterrorism and cybercrime laws. That court, which normally handles political and national security cases, gave the sentence during al-Qahtani’s appeal of her earlier conviction. Judges accused al-Qahtani of “disrupting the cohesion of society” and “destabilizing …

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