Saudi man sentenced to die for anti-Islamic tweets

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Saudi Arabian citizen Ahmad al-Shamri has been accused of using social media to demonize Islam and the prophet Muhammad. The official charge is apostasy, which is a crime punishable by death.

Human Rights Watch activist Hala Dosari said Shamri may have pled insanity, claiming he was drunk, high and in a disorderly mental state when he tweeted the remarks.

According to The Washington Post, Dosari says the trial was based on Koranic law, which means Shamri will be sentenced to death for being an “atheist.” Shamri will be joining more than 400 people that have been put to death for similar circumstances under the Saudi Arabian judicial system.

Adam Coogle, another Human Rights Watch activist, commented the following to The Washington Post:

“The conservative religious folks have full control of the justice system. Judges come from religious seminaries in Saudi Arabia. They see themselves as preservers of Saudi Arabia’s character as an Islamic state,” he said. “and they come down hard on people who step out of line.”

Saudi Arabian officials reportedly executed at least 154 people in 2016 for cases similar to Shamri’s. However, activists think the number could be much higher. An Amnesty International report reads as follows:

“A large number of these executions were not imposed for the most serious crimes but for offences such as nonviolent drug-related crimes which are not even mandatorily punishable by death according to the authorities’ interpretation of Islamic Shari’a law.”

Most people executed in Saudi Arabia are killed by beheading or shooting.

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