Saudi Arab

Saudi Arabia Sentences Man to Death for Criticizing Government on Social Media

Human Rights Watch condemned, Tuesday, the repressive campaign launched by the Saudi regime against freedom of speech, which was recently represented in the death sentence against a Saudi teacher for criticizing the government on social media.

According to Human Rights Watch Al-Ghamdi’s death sentence is the latest and most severe in a series of cases in which Saudi authorities have targeted social media users for peaceful expression online. Over the past year, Saudi courts have convicted and imposed decades-long sentences on social media users who criticized the government.

“Repression in Saudi Arabia has reached a terrifying new stage when a court can hand down the death penalty for nothing more than peaceful tweets,” said Joey Shea, Saudi Arabia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi authorities have escalated their campaign against all dissent to mind-boggling levels and should reject this travesty of justice.”

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly criticized rampant abuses in Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system, including long periods of detention without charge or trial, denial of legal assistance, and the courts’ reliance on torture-tainted confessions as the sole basis of conviction.

Saudi authorities executed 81 men on March 12, 2022, the country’s largest mass execution in years.

“Saudi authorities are now resorting to online criticism not only with unfair show trials, but with the threat of capital punishment,” Shea said. “It’s difficult to see how the Saudi leadership’s pledges to become a more rights-respecting society are meaningful when a mere critical tweet can lead to a death sentence.”

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all countries and under all circumstances. Capital punishment is unique in its cruelty and finality, and it is inevitably and universally plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error.


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