Saudi Arabia prosecutor says people who post satire on social media can be jailed

By On September 05, 2018

Saudi Arabia prosecutor says people who post satire on social media can be jailed

Social media users who post or share satire that attacks religion will be imprisoned for up to five years under strict new laws introduced in Saudi Arabia.

Those found guilty of distributing content online deemed to “disrupt public order”, would also be subject to a fine of three million riyals (£625,000), the Middle Eastern country’s public prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Twitter.

It said: †œProducing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disturbs public order, religious values and public morals through social media will be considered a cybercrime.”

Saudi Arabia is currently undergoing a programme of sweeping reforms in a bid to modernise sections of its deeply conservative society.

Its population is one of the most engaged with social media in the Middle East, but online dissent has been discouraged with the threat of imprisonment.

In 2012, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years behind bar and 1,000 lashes after he was convicted of cybercrimes and insulting Islam.

Mr Badawi was arrested after writing articles on the now banned Free Saudi Liberals website, which he co-founded, criticising Saudi Arabia’s powerful clerics and advocating the liberalisation of the country’s austere Wahhabist system.

Last month, Saudi prosecutors ordered five human rights protesters to be sentenced to death over their political activism.

Among the group is Israa al-Ghomgham, 29, thought to be the first woman to be handed a death sentence in the kingdom.

10 examples of Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses

10 show all 10 examples of Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses

1/10

In October 2014, three lawyers, Dr Abdulrahman al-Subaihi, Bander al-Nogaithan and Abdulrahman al-Rumaih , were sentenced to up to eight years in prison for using Twitter to criticize the Ministry of Justice. AFP/Getty Images

2/10

In March 2015, Yemen’s Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced into exile after a Shia-led insurgency. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has responded with air strikes in order to reinstate Mr Hadi. It has since been accused of committing war crimes in the country. Getty Images

3/10

Women who supported the Women2Drive campaign, launched in 2011 to challenge the ban on women driving vehicles, faced harassment and intimidation by the authorities. The government warned that women drivers would face arrest. Getty Images

4/10

Members of the Kingdom’s Shia minority, most of whom live in the oil-rich Eastern Province, continue to face discrimination that limits their access to government services and employment. Activists have received death sentences or long prison terms for their alleged participation in protests in 2011 and 2012. Getty Images

5/10

All public gatherings are prohibited under an order issued by the Interior Ministry in 2011. Those defy the ban face arrest, prosecution and imprisonment on charges such as “inciting people against the authorities”. Getty Images

6/10

In March 2014, the Interior Ministry stated that authorities had deported over 370,000 foreign migrants and that 18,000 others were in detention. Thousands of workers were returned to Somalia and other states where they were at risk of human rights abuses, with large numbers also returned to Yemen, in order to open more jobs to Saudi Arabians. Many migrants reported that prior to their deportation they had been packed into overc rowded makeshift detention facilities where they received little food and water and were abused by guards. Getty Images

7/10

The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to deny access to independent human rights organisations like Amnesty International, and they have been known to take punitive action, including through the courts, against activists and family members of victims who contact Amnesty. Getty Images

8/10

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for using his liberal blog to criticise Saudi Arabia’s clerics. He has already received 50 lashes, which have reportedly left him in poor health. Carsten Koall/Getty Images

9/10

Dawood al-Marhoon was arrested aged 17 for participating in an anti-government protest. After refusing to spy on his fellow protestors, he was tortured and forced to sign a blank document that would later contain his ‘confession’. At Dawood’s trial, the prosecution requested death by crucifixion while refusing him a lawyer. Getty Images

10/10

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 aged either 16 or 17 for participating in protests during the Arab spring. His sentence includes beheading and crucifixion. The international community has spoken out a gainst the punishment and has called on Saudi Arabia to stop. He is the nephew of a prominent government dissident. Getty

1/10

In October 2014, three lawyers, Dr Abdulrahman al-Subaihi, Bander al-Nogaithan and Abdulrahman al-Rumaih , were sentenced to up to eight years in prison for using Twitter to criticize the Ministry of Justice. AFP/Getty Images

2/10

In March 2015, Yemen’s Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced into exile after a Shia-led insurgency. A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has responded with air strikes in order to reinstate Mr Hadi. It has since been accused of committing war cr imes in the country. Getty Images

3/10

Women who supported the Women2Drive campaign, launched in 2011 to challenge the ban on women driving vehicles, faced harassment and intimidation by the authorities. The government warned that women drivers would face arrest. Getty Images

4/10

Members of the Kingdom’s Shia minority, most of whom live in the oil-rich Eastern Province, continue to face discrimination that limits their access to government services and employment. Activists have received death sentences or long prison terms for their alleged participation in protests in 2011 and 2012. Getty Images

5/10

All public gatherings are prohibited under an order issued by the Interior Ministry in 2011. Those defy the ban face arrest, prosecution and imprisonment on charges such as “inciting people against the authorities”. Getty Images

6/10

In March 2014, the Interior Ministry stated that authorities had deported over 370,000 foreign migrants and that 18,000 others were in detention. Thousands of workers were returned to Somalia and other states where they were at risk of human rights abuses, with large numbers also returned to Yemen, in order to open more jobs to Saudi Arabians. Many migrants reported that prior to their deportation they had been packed into overcrowded makeshift detention facilities where they received little food and water and were abused by guards. Getty Images

7/10

The Saudi Arabian authorities continue to deny access to independent human rights organisations like Amnesty International, and they have been known to take punitive action, including through the courts, against activists and family members of victims who contact Amnesty. Getty Images

8/10

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison for using his liberal blog to criticise Saudi Arabia’s clerics. He has already received 50 lashes, which have reportedly left him in poor health. Carsten Koall/Getty Images

9/10

Dawood al-Marhoon was arrested aged 17 for participating in an anti-government protest. After refusing to spy on his fellow protestors, he was tortured and forced to sign a blank document that would later contain his ‘confession’. At Dawood’s trial, the prosecution requested death by crucifixion while refusing him a lawyer. Getty Images

10/10

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 aged either 16 or 17 for participating in protests during the Arab spring. His sentence includes beheadin g and crucifixion. The international community has spoken out against the punishment and has called on Saudi Arabia to stop. He is the nephew of a prominent government dissident. Getty

Ms al-Ghomgham and four other activists, including her husband, Moussa al-Hashem, were arrested in December 2015 for their roles organising anti-government protests in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Their charges include various “terror” offences including filming protests against the regime and later publishing them on social media.

Source: Google News Saudi Arabia | Netizen 24 Saudi Arabia

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