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Saudi activist sentenced to 34 years in prison for Twitter activity

(CNN)Saudi women's rights campaigner Salma Al-Shehab announced Monday that According to court documents seen by CNN,

33-year-old Al-Shehab alsotraveled out of Saudi Arabia. It was banned for another 34 years.

According to the independent human rights group ALQST, a doctoral student at the University of Leeds in the UK said she was arrested in January 2021 and questioned for 265 days before being brought to a specialized criminal court. rice field.

She was originally sentenced to her six-year sentence late last year, but was extended to 34 years after al-Shehab appealed, according to documents.

The charges brought against her by the prosecution included "providing assistance to those who sought to disturb public order and undermine public security and national stability; Publishing biased rumors about Arcust said.

According to court documents, Al Shehab was "driven" into a months-long investigation in her court without her prior warning, during which she was held in solitary confinement. said.

The mother of two children also asked the court to consider the need to care for her child and her sick mother, the documents said.

ALQST's head of surveillance and communications, Rina Al-Hasrour, told CNN that Al-Shehab was arrested for aiding her sister, Rujain Al-Hasrour. She is a prominent activist and she spent more than 1000 days in prison after the May 2018 terrorist attacks. The sweep targeted celebrities and prisoners of conscience on Twitter who opposed the country's law banning women from driving.

Lina Al-Hathloul said in her ALQST statement that al-Shehab's ruling "mocks the Saudi authorities' claims about reform and the legal system for women," adding that "they It shows that we are still working hard,” he added. About severely punishing those who speak freely.

They urged the Saudi government to release Al-Shehab and demanded that the kingdom defend its freedom of speech.

Al-Shehab's Twitter account remained online, saying, Freedom for prisoners of conscience and all oppressed people in the world," the pinned tweet read.

The US State Department said Wednesday it was "investigating" the matter.

"However, this is a general issue, and we can categorically state that the use of free expression to defend women's rights should not be criminalized," said the State Department. spokesman Ned Price said. at a press conference.

Asked if Saudi Arabia was encouraged by its recent engagement with the United States, Price said, "Our engagement ... shows that human rights are central to our agenda."