A 65-year-old Islamic cleric has been sentenced to death for the use of social media against the Saudi Kingdom. The Islamic cleric has been identified as Awad Al-Qarni. He has been accused of circulating anti-Government news on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram.
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the cleric had Two million followers on Twitter before his arrest. He was arrested on September 9, 2017, after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took over the reins of Saudi Arabia. It had been reported that Awad al-Qarni had been falsely portrayed as a 'dangerous preacher' by State media. His arrest is considered a crackdown on dissidents by the authoritarian Saudi Arabian Government.
The Guardian reported that Awad al-Qarni was sentenced to death after admitting that he used his Twitter account (@awadalqarni) to express his views at every opportunity. His son Nasir informed the newspaper about the allegations against him. Nasser fled Saudi Arabia in the year 2022 and has been living in the UK ever since.
The Guardian further reported that Awad al-Qarni has been accused of allegedly praising the radical Islamic organization Muslim Brotherhood in videos and WhatsApp chats.
Earlier, in August 2022, Saudi Government sentenced Salma al-Shahab to 34 years imprisonment for having a Twitter account and sharing tweets criticizing the Mohammed Bin Salman administration. At the same time, another woman, Noura bint Saeed al-Qaht, was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment for her social media activity.