Riyadh: The continued penalties on activists and opponents require urgent international intervention
Stockholm- Skyline International for human Rights condemns the Saudi Court of Appeal's verdict against activist Noura Saeed AlQahtani due to her posts on social media. Thus, it calls on the international community to take serious steps to end the grave violations against activists and opponents in SaudiArabia.
In a statement released today, Thursday, Skyline regrets the issuance of the Saudi Court of Appeal this week, a harsh sentence of 45 years in prison against "Al-Qahtani" after she was convicted of "disturbing public order" due to tweets and publications she shared on social media.
"Skyline" points out that this verdict came less than a week after a similar ruling by the Court of Appeal against the academic "Salma Al-Shehab", which decided to increase her six-year sentence to 34 years for "disturbing public order and undermining the security and stability of the state".
The Riyadh Court of Appeals, which specializes in terrorism crimes, sentenced Noura Saeed Al-Qahtani to 45 years in prison for "striving to destabilize the social fabric and national cohesion and disrupt the cohesion of society and its public order after she was arrested in July 2021".
"Skyline" emphasises that this verdict joins a series of verdicts based on unjust laws and judicial procedures that lack justice and that have affected dozens of writers, thinkers, preachers, and women because of their civic, political, or social activities.
In addition, Skyline highlights that the retention of such provisions, including those targeting women, is due to the impunity felt by government authorities in Saudi Arabia, the lack of effective accountability, and the fact that the international community, including the world's major countries, prioritizes its interests at the expense of human rights.
Skyline pointed out that Saudi Arabia is among the countries that strictly control the Internet and social media, whether by blocking or punishing with imprisonment and fines, to suppress dissenting voices or those with different opinions.
In this regard, Skyline states that Saudi Arabia conducts arrest campaigns based on a cybercrime law that criminalizes criticism of the government on the Internet and legitimizes campaigns of repression and muzzling dissent voices. It further points out that these politicized arrests and trials clearly contradict the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights against the backdrop of freedom of expression.
At the end of its statement, Skyline calls on the international community to take serious steps to stop the escalation of violations of public freedoms in Saudi Arabia and to investigate the arrest actions and wrongful convictions for exercising the right to freedom of opinion and expression.