Saudi woman gets 45-year prison term for social media posts

 A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a woman to 45 years in prison for social media posts, a rights group said, in the latest example of a crackdown on women activists following a controversial visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to the kingdom.

Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani was convicted “likely within last week” by the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court on charges of “using the internet to tear the (Saudi) social fabric” and “violating public order by using social media”, Washington-based DAWN organisation said in a statement, citing court documents.

The Saudi government media office did not respond to Reuters for a request for comment.

DAWN said little was known about Qahtani or what her social media posts said, and that it was continuing to investigate her case.

Qahtani’s conviction came a few weeks after Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and doctoral candidate at the University of Leeds in Britain, was sentenced to 35 years in jail for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter.

The latest cases came after Biden cited human rights concerns, a major sore point in relations between Washington and its traditional ally Riyadh, during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July.

Washington said last week it had raised “significant concerns” with Saudi Arabia over Shehab’s sentencing, which included a 34-year travel ban for her tweets.

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