Although Saudi Arabia has killed or injured several thousand women in neighboring Yemen, beheading a female is completely unprecedented inside the Kingdom thus far.
Riyadh (GPA) – Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 29-year-old woman activist for crimes such as chanting slogans at a protest. Beheading a woman is unprecedented in the kingdom. Meanwhile, Facebook has sprung into action to protect Riyadh’s back by initiating a crackdown on hundreds of accounts posting anti-Saudi content.
- Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five activists with non-violent charges.
- All of the activists belong to the kingdom’s historically oppressed Shia minority. One is a woman.
- Facebook has coincidentally begun removing anti-Saudi accounts under the guise of fighting “Iranian interference.”
- A private cybersecurity firm with ties to the US military tipped off Facebook to the accounts.
Saudis Seek First Death by the Sword for Woman Activist
One of these activists includes a woman named Israa al-Ghomgham who was arrested three years ago. Although Saudi Arabia has killed or injured several thousand women in neighboring Yemen, beheading a female is completely unprecedented inside the Kingdom thus far.
All of the activists reportedly took part in protests in Saudi Arabia’s town of Qatif — a heavily Shia Muslim region frequently under siege from Wahhabi Saudi forces.
Saudi rulers consider all citizens who do not adhere to their distorted and intolerant version of Islam, Wahhabism, as polytheists and non-believers. Saudi textbooks in schools contain content with the intention of inflaming hatred for Shia Muslims. This hatred overflows into their foreign policy and military strategies as well.
Ghomgham and the other four activists face charges such as chanting slogans, attempting to inflame public opinion, and providing moral support to protestors. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reportedly both spoke out on Ghomgham’s behalf. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland also took the opportunity to strike back at the Kingdom’s recent arrests.
These arrests are part of a broader trend under Mohammed bin Salman’s rule to arrest all activists, clerics, intellectuals, and journalists that speak out against the regime.
Although all of the recent arrests were Shia Muslim, Riyadh also cracked down on Sunni Muslim pro-democracy activists last month. In mid-July, Saudi authorities raided the home of Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali: a 68-year-old scholar who had just published a book critical of the Saudi regime’s policies. Hawali was arrested and his current fate is unclear.