Saudi High School Girl Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Criticizing Government
17-year-old Saudi girl sentenced to 18 years for criticizing government sparks global outrage over freedom of expression.
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In a highly controversial verdict, the Special Criminal Court of Saudi Arabia has sentenced a 17-year-old high school girl to 18 years in prison for expressing support for the country's political prisoners and criticizing the Saudi government on social media.
The teenager, whose identity is being withheld for security reasons, was accused of posting messages and content online that were critical of the Saudi government's human rights record and called for the release of political prisoners. The charges against her included "incitement against the state" and "undermining national security."
This case comes on the heels of another high-profile sentencing in Saudi Arabia, where Salmi Shahab, a dental student at the University of Leeds in England, was arrested and subsequently sentenced to 34 years in prison for similar offenses, including publishing critical content on social networks.
International human rights organizations and activists have condemned these harsh sentences, calling them blatant violations of freedom of expression and human rights. They argue that these cases highlight the growing crackdown on dissent in the kingdom and the lack of respect for basic civil liberties.
Sarah Ahmed, a spokesperson for Amnesty International, stated, "The sentencing of a high school girl to 18 years in prison for expressing her views on social media is a shocking and disgraceful abuse of power. It is deeply concerning to see Saudi Arabia continue to suppress freedom of expression and target those who dare to speak out against injustice."
The Saudi government has defended its actions, asserting that these individuals were inciting instability and posing a threat to national security. They maintain that the sentences were handed down in accordance with Saudi law.
As these cases garner international attention, human rights advocates are renewing their calls for Saudi Arabia to uphold its obligations under international human rights agreements and ensure that individuals are not persecuted for expressing their opinions. The controversy surrounding these sentences is expected to intensify pressure on the Saudi government to reconsider its stance on freedom of expression and political dissent.
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