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Accused of Incitement, Leading Saudi Professor of Law Sentenced to Death

Saudi Arabia's most important law professor, Awad al-Qarni, 65, has already been sentenced to death. The conviction was handed down after he was charged with spreading anti-government information on several social media bases (social media) such as Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram.

Based on a court document obtained by The Guardian and published Sunday (15/1/2023), al-Qarni "admitted" to using a Twitter account in his name "every opportunity to express his ideas". The charges against him include also the posting of a Telegram account and the sharing of information deemed "hostile" to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the instant messaging program WhatsApp.

In addition, al-Qarni was charged with praising the Muslim Brotherhood movement in a video. The death penalty on him was because of it. There is a presumption that al-Qarni made that statement under persecution and oppression. Al-Qarni was secured in September 2017. His arrest came shortly after Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was elected crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Qarni's son, Nasser al-Qarni, once told the Guardian about his father's arrest. Nasser had run from Saudi last year and now lives in the UK. According to Nasser, the process of arresting his father was really tense. "More than 100 people are carrying machine guns and pistols. They surrounded the house. We were prevented from entering the house by force. It's like a battlefield," he told the Guardian in October last year.

Nasser admits that he had tried to let go of his father and stop the persecution of him, but to no avail. "My country has not succeeded, not only in terms of human rights but in all sectors, social, economic and political," he said.

One year after being secured, prosecutors asked al-Qarni to face the death penalty alongside Salman Odah and Ali al-Omari. The 3rd is known as a religious figure and self-media with some adherents in Saudi Arabian and Arab youth groups.


Several human rights officials have accused the Saudis of silencing dissimilarity of opinion and freedom of expression. The trend has been seen to have increased since MBS occupied the crown prince's bench. Jeed Basyouni, head of Middle East and North African advocacy at the human rights front, Reprieve, explained that al-Qarni's case is a side of the trend where some intellectuals and academics face the death penalty for tweeting and expressing their eyesight.

According to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, so far last year the Saudis completed 147 people. There was one event in which the Saudis completed a mass of 81 people on a single day. Despite promises to reduce the death penalty, the number of people carried out by the Saudis remains high. It is also feared by various human rights ranks.

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights said that as of December 2022, there were at least 61 people in Saudi facing the death penalty. They think that the actual number is still getting higher.

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