US raises concern to Saudi over activist’s sentencing
Saudi arabia–According to the State Department, the United States has expressed “serious concerns” to Saudi Arabia regarding Salma al-34-year Shehab’s prison term. Al-Shehab is an activist for women’s rights.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, said of the term imposed on the Saudi lady for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter, “We have voiced our serious concerns with Saudi authorities.”
We have emphasized to them that the right to freedom of expression is a fundamental human right to which everyone is entitled, according to Mr Price, who also added that it should “never be criminalized or punished.” A request for comment was not immediately answered by the Saudi embassy in Washington.
A Saudi court sentenced Shehab to 34 years in prison and a 34-year travel restriction earlier this month over her tweets, according to The Freedom Initiative, a human rights organization based in Washington.
The mother of two and doctorate candidate at the University of Leeds in Britain received the longest prison term ever handed out to a Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, according to the organisation.
Shehab, a member of the Shiite Muslim minority in the country, was taken into custody in Saudi Arabia in January 2021 while on holiday just days before she was scheduled to fly back to the UK, according to the organisation.
Tensions surrounding oil-rich Concerns about women’s rights and the 2018 murder and dismemberment of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul have hampered the country’s relations with the United States.
According to the U.S. intelligence community, Khashoggi, a resident of the United States and a contributor to the Washington Post, was murdered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia disputes the charge.
President of the United States Joe Biden received flak for traveling to Saudi Arabia in June. He claimed that he told the crown prince that he held him accountable for Khashoggi’s murder during the meeting.