Saudi Arabia: Skyline condemns Tunisian doctor's 15-year prison sentence on grounds of interaction on Twitter
Stockholm- Skyline International for Human Rights condemns the Saudi judicial authorities' verdict of a 15-year prison sentence against a Tunisian doctor on grounds of her interaction with a tweet on Twitter.
In a statement issued today, Saturday, Skyline points out that the specialized appeals court sentenced doctor "Mahdiya Al-Marzouki", 51, to 15 years in prison for "insulting the regim and the State system", after expressing her "admiration" In a video of pro-Hezbollah rallies in the Tunisian capital. Skyline stresses that this is unjustified deviation from the principles of fair trial and a clear attack on the right to freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by international law.
The human rights foundation Skyline states that it had followed up with the doctor's brother, "Marzouki," on radio "Jawhara FM" where he reported the details of the arrest of his sister, who has been in Saudi Arabia since 2008. Marzouki' brother said that: "Saudi authorities arrested my sister in 2020 after she interacted with a video published on (Twitter) of a pro-Hezbollah demonstration in front of the Municipal Theater on Habib Bourguiba Street in the Tunisian capital. He added: "The investigation against her lasted a year, then she was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, suspended for a year, before the lawyer hired by the Saudi authorities appealed the sentence and sentenced her to 15 years in prison."
Al-Marzouki concluded his remarks by saying that his family had contacted the Tunisian Embassy in Riyadh several times and had approached some Tunisian officials, but to no avail, and urged government authorities to intervene urgently and work for the release of his sister.
For its part, Skyline condemens the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's continued restriction ofindividuals' freedom to express their opinions on social media, stressing that the sentence against the doctor clearly and unjustifiably violates fair trial principles.
Accordingly, Skyline stresses that the sentence is a serious violation of international conventions that allow individuals to express their opinions without restriction or prosecution, as article (19) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: " Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
Skyline concludes its statement by stressing the need for the Saudi authorities to reverse the verdict against the Tunisian doctor and immediately and unconditionally end the arbitrary detention of her. It emphasizes the responsibility of the Saudi authorities to protect the individual's right to freedom of expression without restrictions or prosecution. Eventually, it called on the Tunisian authorities to take urgent action and follow up on the Tunisian doctor's case with the authorities in Riyadh to ensure her release as soon as possible.