Man Sentenced To Death in Saudi Arabia for Tweets Criticizing Government

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Man Sentenced To Death in Saudi Arabia for Tweets Criticizing Government

A man has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia over his tweets on X, formerly known as Twitter, and his activity on YouTube that criticized Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the king, and the Saudi royals.

The Associated Press reported on the story on Wednesday, which the outlet notes is part of a widening crackdown on dissents in the kingdom.

Mohammed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after posting tweets criticizing Mohammed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlighted the case this week and said the Saudi judiciary tried the speech case in a special counterterrorism court.

HRW details, “On July 10, 2023, the Specialized Criminal Court, Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism tribunal, convicted Muhammad al-Ghamdi, 54, a retired Saudi teacher, of several criminal offenses related solely to his peaceful expression online.

“The court sentenced him to death, using his tweets, retweets, and YouTube activity as the evidence against him,” the report says.

The man’s online activity merely consisted of retweets of others’ criticisms of Saudi government leaders.

The news set a legal precedent for clamping down on online speech in the country.

The HRW report documents further:

Court documents Human Rights Watch reviewed show that the Specialized Criminal Court sentenced al-Ghamdi to death on July 10 under article 30 of Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism law for “describing the King or the Crown Prince in a way that undermines religion or justice,” article 34 for “supporting a terrorist ideology,” article 43 for “communication with a terrorist entity,” and article 44 for publishing false news “with the intention of executing a terrorist crime.”

Al-Ghamdi’s trial judgment states that he used his accounts on the X, formally Twitter, platform and YouTube to commit his “crimes.”

Meanwhile, activists have urged Elon Musk to speak out against Saudi Arabia after the news broke.

In another similar case, a student named Salma al-Shehab and others are facing decades in prison for online postings.

“The sentences appear part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s wider effort to stamp out any defiance in the kingdom as he pursues massive building projects and other diplomatic deals to raise his profile globally,” The AP reported.

READ: Elon Musk Explains Why George Soros ‘Hates Humanity’ in Twitter Post

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