Internet Activist Sentenced to Death for Tweets in Saudi Arabia

Photo courtesy: GCHR
Photo courtesy: GCHR

Internet Activist Sentenced to Death for Tweets in Saudi Arabia

GCHR believes that the death penalty has been used widely as a political tool by the Saudi authorities.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has informed that the Saudi authorities have sentenced an Internet activist to death for his comments on social media. His brother, an exiled activist, fears the sentence was handed down in retaliation against him.

On 24 August, 2023, Dr. Saeed bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi wrote on his Twitter account a tweet about the sentencing of his brother, Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi, to death, following tweets criticizing corruption and violation of human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Saeed Al-Ghamdi, 62, is an academic, Islamic researcher and well-known dissident. In 2018, according to GCHR, he was forced to seek political asylum in the United Kingdom on arrival and settled there after he was targeted by the Saudi government. Dr. Al-Ghamdi also heads the Sanad Rights Foundation, which documents human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, he was targeted for his public and strong opposition to the Saudi government, which prevented his family from joining him outside the country.

According to a press release issued today (August 27) by GCHR, bloggers and human rights activists declared their solidarity with Al-Ghamdi by posting the following hashtag, which became viral soon after: 

#Stop _ the _ execution of _ Mohammed _ Al-Ghamdi

Local reports confirmed that the death sentence against Internet activist Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi was issued on 10 July 2023, more than a year after his arrest, which took place in June 2022.

GCHR says it considers this a dangerous escalation following the shocking decades-long prison sentences issued against women human rights defenders. 

In a previous warning, GCHR had said that since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed Crown Prince in June 2017, Saudi Arabia has steadily transformed into a repressive police state. 

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A new era of massive violations of the civil and human rights of human rights defenders, including bloggers, Internet activists and the general public, has begun, and restrictions on diverse opinions have become a reality.

GCHR believes that the death penalty has been used widely as a political tool by the Saudi authorities, and is designed to spread fear in the country and terrorize citizens, in particular human rights activists, in an attempt by the ruling family to firmly control power, and to silence dissenting voices abroad.

GCHR calls on all international organizations, including the United Nations mechanisms, and governments who have influence in Saudi Arabia, especially the United States, the United Kingdom, and European Union members, to intervene urgently and effectively and call on the Saudi authorities to annul this unfair death sentence issued against Internet activist Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi. 

According to GCHR, these executions are taking place in the shadow of the utmost politicized judiciary which has completely lost its independence, and become a malleable tool used by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in order to liquidate his political opponents, prominent society figures, human rights activists, and peaceful protesters.

Courtesy: GCHR

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