Skyline launches an urgent appeal following the sentencing of dissident "Awad Al-Qarni" to death for his tweets on "Twitter"
Stockholm - Skyline International has issued an urgent appeal to the international community to put pressure on Saudi authorities to overturn the death sentence against Saudi dissident "Awad Al-Qarni" on the pretext of having committed "cybercrime." It stresses that the human rights situation in the Kingdom continues to deteriorate in the face of the authorities' ongoing repressive policies, and calls on all international parties to live up to their legal and moral responsibilities towards opposition figures and activists.
On Monday, Skyline states that it views with great concern the death sentence imposed by a Saudi judicial authority on Saudi law professor and dissident "Awad Al-Qarni" for alleged crimes such as owning a Twitter account and using "WhatsApp" to post messages deemed "hostile" to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Skyline stated that Al-Qarni, 65, who was arrested in September 2017 as part of an arrest campaign against preachers and opposition figures, was accused of "using a social media account in his name and using it at every opportunity to express his opinions that pose a danger to the" Kingdom's interests," He also confessed to "participating in a conversation on WhatsApp" and was accused of participating in video clips praising one of the groups banned in the kingdom. "Al-Qarni's use of the Telegram application was also part of the allegations
Skyline stresses that this verdict is not the first of its kind, as it was preceded by several death and imprisonment sentences for activists convicted of using social media against the interests of the "Kingdom," including activist "Salma Al-Shehab," a PhD student at the University of Leeds who was sentenced to prison. She was sentenced to 34 years in prison for having a Twitter account and following and retweeting dissidents and activists.
While activist Noura Al-Qahtani was sentenced to 45 years in prison for using Twitter to follow activists and retweet content that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers hostile.
Skyline, therefore, stresses that the sentences imposed by the Saudi judicial authorities constitute a serious violation of the rules of international law guaranteeing full protection of the right to life, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as in other agreements, and points out that international law criminalizes any practice that impairs or jeopardizes this right.
"Skyline" points out that the charges brought by the judicial authorities against the preacher "Al-Qarni'', are based on false or logical grounds and, moreover, contradict the laws in force in the Kingdom. These laws include Article 8 of the Publication Law, which emphasises that "freedom of expression is guaranteed through various means of publication within the framework of the law and legal provisions." Article 2 of the Electronic Publishing Regulations issued by the Saudi Ministry of Information also states that it "supports a culture of dialogue and diversity and consecrates a culture of human rights represented by the right to freedom of expression guaranteed to all in accordance with the provisions of the system."
At the end of its statement, Skyline calls on Saudi authorities to desist from their repressive policies toward all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, stressing that the international community, led by the United Nations and its committees, must play an effective role and put pressure on Saudi authorities to release all prisoners of conscience and resolve the tragic situation in Prisons.