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Stockholm, Skyline expresses astonishment that Saudi authorities sentenced an Internet activist to death for his comments on social media, in violation of his right to freedom of expression. It stresses that the human rights situation in the Kingdom continues to deteriorate in light of the authorities' ongoing repressive policies, and calls on all international parties to live up to their legal and moral responsibilities toward opposition figures and activists.

In a statement released today (Monday), Skyline condemns with astonishment the verdict of the Special Criminal Court that sentenced to death Saudi national Mohammad bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi, the brother of prominent dissident bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi, based on posts on social media.

According to media reports, Dr. Sheikh Saeed Al-Ghamdi said on Thursday, “The Special Criminal Court in Riyadh, presided over by Awad Al-Ahmari, sentenced my brother Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi to death after he criticized corruption and human rights violations in tweets and defended during the investigation of arrested scholars Awad Al-Qarni, Salman Al-Awda, Safar Al-Hawali and Ali Al-Omari.

Al-Ghamdi, who has been living in exile in the United Kingdom since 2018 and heads the Sanad Organization for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, added: “The court did not accept all the medical reports proving his chronic neurological diseases, and did not pay attention to his graying and poor health, nor to the fact that his tweets appear on an anonymous account and only nine followers follow him! The proceedings initiated against him indicate that this false judgment is intended to anger me personally after the investigation did not lead to my return to the country.

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.

"The sentences imposed by the Saudi judicial authorities constitute a serious violation of the principles 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, among other agreements, and points out that international law criminalizes any practice that impairs or jeopardizes this right." Says Skyline.

Skyline emphasizes that "the death penalty has always been widely used by Saudi authorities as a political tool and is used to spread fear in the country to intimidate citizens, especially human rights activists, so that the ruling family maintains a firm grip on power and silences dissenting voices abroad".

Concluding its statement, Skyline emphasizes the rejection of this unjust sentence, and calls on the Saudi authorities to reverse their decision, and stresses the need for them to abide by international human rights conventions and not to harm the relatives and families of the opposition members, not for any crime they have committed, except to anger their relatives who oppose the authority.