Norah bin Said Al Qahtani has received a 45 year prison term for “using the internet to tear Saudi Arabia’s social fabric”. Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi founded the organization Democracy for the Arab World Now or DAWN. DAWN has been monitoring the plight of many prisoners in Saudi Arabia and their trials and is reporting their results.
DAWN director for the Gulf region, Abdullah Aloud said, that Norah was imprisoned for “simply tweeting her opinions”.
Many may not think that this is a credible report as 45 years in prison is much more than convicted murderers receive in most countries, however this is not the first time that Saudi authorities have handed down bizarre sentences to women. Just several weeks ago a 34 year old PhD student at Leeds University was convicted and sentenced to 34 years in prison after she returned to her native Saudi Arabia while on a holiday break.
Documents reveal that Salma Shehab had been convicted of the so called crime of following the Twitter accounts of dissidents who “cause public unrest and destabilize civil and national security”. She was also found to retweet some of their posts as well.
Saudi Arabia is home to the Ka’ba in Mecca and Masjid Nabawee in Al-Madina. However since King Salman bin Abdul Aziz took over the reins as King his son, Muhammad bin Salman, has been the de-facto ruler of the oil rich kingdom, and the role of religion has plummeted in Saudi society. Many prominent Shaykhs have been imprisoned including Shaykh Salman Aouda and Shaykh Muhammad Munajjid, who is the owner of the vastly popular website islamqa.com.