America is wanting into the case of a Saudi pupil sentenced to 34 years in jail for her Twitter exercise, a State Division spokesperson mentioned Wednesday.
“Exercising freedom of expression to advocate for the rights of ladies shouldn’t be criminalized. It ought to by no means be criminalized,” the division’s Ned Value mentioned at a press convention, noting that the U.S. is “finding out” the case and sentence.
A PhD pupil at the UK’s Leeds College, Salma al-Shehab was arrested final yr throughout a go to to Saudi Arabia, reportedly for Twitter exercise essential of the Saudi authorities.
Al-Shehab might have been flagged to the Saudi authorities by a criminal offense reporting app, The Guardian wrote on Wednesday, for following and retweeting activists and dissidents.
The courtroom additionally dominated that her cellphone and Twitter account should even be confiscated and deleted, in keeping with the Washington Put up.
“Freedom of expression is a precept that we rise up for world wide. Anytime any authorities anyplace tramples on such a precept, we communicate out and we search to defend that basic proper that’s as basic to people in Saudi Arabia as it’s to any nation world wide,” Value mentioned.
Biden had beforehand promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the 2018 homicide of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Requested whether or not softening relations between the 2 nations would give Saudi Arabia license to behave with impunity on issues like al-Shehab’s case, Value mentioned Wednesday that latest U.S. engagement, together with Biden’s latest go to, “has made clear to our Gulf companions” and the Saudis that “human rights is central to our agenda.”