Saudi court sentences man to 10 years & 2,000 lashes for atheist tweets

Feb 27th, 2016 | By | Category: Weekly Washington Updates
Saudi Religious Police(RT.COM) A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a man to 10 years imprisonment and 2,000 lashes for hundreds of atheist posts on Twitter, media reported.

The Saudi religious police, which is also responsible for monitoring social networks, found more than 600 “atheist” tweets on the page of an unnamed user, AP reports.

The user was said to deny the existence of God, ridicule verses from the Koran, and accused all prophets of lying and fueling hostilities through their teachings, according to Al-Watan online daily.

The 28-year-old man, whose name has not been disclosed, is said to have admitted his atheist views and refused to repent, saying the tweets reflect his beliefs and that he has the right to express them.

State Department statement on religious freedom in Saudi Arabia:
Freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law and the government severely restricted it in practice. According to the 1992 Basic Law, Sunni Islam is the official religion and the country’s constitution is the Quran and the Sunna (traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). The legal system is based on the government’s application of the Hanbali School of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. The public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited, and there is no separation between state and religion. Shia and other Muslims who did not adhere to the government’s interpretation of Islam faced political, economic, legal, social, and religious discrimination, including limited employment and educational opportunities, underrepresentation in official institutions, restrictions on religious practice, and restrictions on places of worship and community centers.

Along with imprisonment and corporal punishment, the man was also slapped with a fine of 20,000 riyals (about $5,300), Reuters reports.

Saudi Arabia is known for its strict laws based on the Sharia system. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (also known as the religious police) arrested a man dressed as a mascot for not wearing Islamic dress.

In December the religious police arrested another man for wearing women’s clothing in a public place, which is banned in Saudi Arabia and can lead to six months imprisonment or public flogging.

More Saudi News:

40 civilians killed in Saudi Arabia air strikes on Yemeni market

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