Saudi Arabian man is jailed for 10 years and given 2,000 lashes for tweeting that he is an atheist and criticising religion
- The unnamed 28-year-old posted more than 600 tweets before his arrest
- He stated that he had the right to express his beliefs
- Under Saudi law, professing atheist views is considered terrorism
- The man was also fined the equivalent of £4,000
A Saudi Arabian court has ordered a man should be given 2,000 lashes and spend 10 years in prison because he ridiculed the Koran and denied the existence of God on Twitter.
The 28-year-old was sentenced after the state’s Islamic police discovered 600 tweets professing his atheism.
Under laws introduced two years ago, atheism is defined as ‘terrorism’.
The defiant man said the social media posts reflected his beliefs and said he had the right to express them.
Police found his tweets ridiculed verses from the Koran, accused all prophets of lying, stating that religious teaching fuelled hostilities, and denying the existence of God.
He was also fined around £4,000, The Sun reports.
Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, has strict laws which define expressing atheist views as an act of terrorism
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of lobby group Human Rights Watch, said when the laws were introduced: ‘Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism.’
Under royal decrees issued by the late King Abdullah, who died last year, authorities were given powers to tackle political dissent including protests which could ‘harm public order’.
Article one of these new laws defined terrorism as ‘calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based’.