A scholar was jailed for her tweets – thank the Saudi regime’s enablers | Arwa Mahdawi

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I hope fist-bumping a tyrant was price it, Biden!

Salma al-Shehab is sitting in jail due to a retweet. The 34-year-old Leeds College scholar and mom of two younger boys was travelling house to Saudi Arabia for a vacation when she discovered herself summoned to a particular terrorism courtroom and charged with utilizing an internet site to “trigger public unrest and destabilize civil and nationwide safety”. What does that imply in plain English? She had a Twitter account and retweeted some dissidents. For that “crime”, she has been sentenced to 34 years in jail and, simply to ensure she actually learns her lesson, has additionally been given a 34-year journey ban.

It’s not precisely a secret that Saudi Arabia is sensitive about criticism and tends to take care of dissidents by way of bone saws or jail time. What makes this case additional chilling, nonetheless, is that Shehab just isn’t some high-profile activist-in-exile with tens of millions of followers; she has 159 followers on Instagram and simply over 2,500 followers on Twitter. She’s not somebody who was always within the public eye. She’s simply an extraordinary particular person with a Twitter account who, amongst tweets about her sons, often retweeted folks essential of Saudi Arabia and expressed assist for the ladies’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, additionally thrown in jail by the regime. The message from the oil-rich, rights-poor kingdom right here may be very clear: it doesn’t matter who you might be – when you criticize the regime, you’ll remorse it.

Shehab has been detained since January 2021 and has mentioned she has been in solitary confinement for 285 days. God is aware of how she has been handled throughout this time however I believe it’s pretty nicely established that Saudi jails are usually not nice locations to be, notably for girls. Shamefully, her case solely acquired mainstream consideration within the west this week when the Washington Publish picked it up and printed an editorial demanding that Joe Biden communicate out forcefully on the difficulty. It’s not shocking that the Publish led the cost on this: Publish Opinions contributor Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, was brutally assassinated almost 4 years in the past and a US intelligence report discovered that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, accepted his killing.

When you homicide a distinguished dissident on international soil and reduce up their physique with a bone noticed there actually should be penalties, don’t you suppose? Joe Biden promised at one level that there could be; he vowed to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state. After which, just a few months in the past, he went crawling over to Saudi Arabia to beg for oil and greeted Prince Mohammed with a fist bump. Whereas which will look pathetic on the floor, Biden assured us he was robust behind the scenes. The White Home mentioned Biden had “raised particular circumstances of concern” about human rights – which will need to have left the prince actually terrified, actually quaking in his boots. In response to those considerations, Biden apparently acquired just a few commitments with “respect to reforms and institutional safeguards in place to protect towards any such conduct sooner or later”. “Any such conduct” being a really sanitary approach of claiming “sawing journalists to bits with a bone noticed”. Because the Washington Publish famous in its scathing editorial, the “commitments” Biden acquired on reforms have been very clearly “a farce”.

After all they have been a farce! Any fool might see that Prince Mohammed wasn’t abruptly going to get obsessed with human rights simply because Biden advised him to cease with the homicide malarkey. I’m certain Biden himself knew the commitments have been a farce. However right here’s the factor: Saudi Arabia is a helpful ally that buys loads of costly weapons, supplies loads of oil, and spends some huge cash with firms like McKinsey, so it’s handy for the west to associate with that farce. Certainly, for the previous few years, massive swathes of the western media have been falling over their ft making an attempt to painting Prince Mohammed as some form of superb “reformer”. In 2018, for instance, after Saudi Arabia lifted the world’s solely ban on ladies driving, dozens of puff items got here out about how superb the crown prince was. CBS interviewed him and introduced that he was “emancipating ladies”; the New York Instances Thomas Friedman wrote a complimentary piece titled “Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Final”. The truth that Saudi Arabia was concurrently jailing ladies’s rights activists and bombing Yemen to smithereens, creating one of many world’s worst humanitarian crises, acquired fairly much less play. Disgrace on each single one that performed together with MBS’s narrative and helped sportwash and sanitize Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses. Autocrats don’t have any energy with out enablers and Prince Mohammed has no finish of them.

Utah faculty secretly investigated whether or not profitable feminine scholar athlete is transgender

A woman in Iowa trounced her friends at a state-level faculty sports activities competitors. As an alternative of congratulating the child, the dad and mom of the women she beat instantly demanded an investigation into her gender. They usually acquired one: the gender police rummaged via the lady’s faculty information courting again to kindergarten to establish that she was assigned feminine at beginning. This isn’t an remoted incident: the Utah Excessive College Actions Affiliation has reportedly seemed into different complaints about athletes who don’t “look female sufficient”. It is a chilling reminder, for many who must be reminded, that assaults on trans rights have an effect on us all. “We warned about this being a risk,” one transgender activist famous, “that everybody would accuse everybody who’s profitable of being transgender … It turns into about judging ladies’s our bodies. And no physique is secure.”

Florida courtroom guidelines 16-year-old just isn’t ‘sufficiently mature’ for abortion

However she is mature sufficient to have a child! That’s Republican logic for you.

Strippers in LA are unionizing

Dancers at a Los Angeles strip membership have filed to be a part of the nationwide union that represents theater actors within the US. “We like what we do,” mentioned one dancer, Velveeta, in a press release. “We wish our jobs much more if we had fundamental employee protections.”

Rwanda may very well be one of many first nations to wipe out cervical most cancers

Cervical most cancers is the commonest most cancers affecting ladies in Rwanda. The nation has turn out to be a frontrunner in increasing testing, elevating consciousness, and vaccinating towards HPV – which is related to the most cancers. Officers consider Rwanda could turn out to be the primary nation on the earth to remove cervical most cancers.

The week in paw-triarchy

An intrepid seal made its approach 150m from the shore and busted via two cat flaps so as to hand around in the hallway of a New Zealand house, offering fairly a shock to the household who lived there. How did the cat (Coco) really feel in regards to the intruder? Coco wasn’t accessible for remark however as she fled the property and ran to a neighbor’s home, we are able to solely surmise she wasn’t a fan of the seal. Apparently this form of factor isn’t completely uncommon in New Zealand: younger seals like roaming round. Because the proprietor of the home famous: “I suppose, like all youngsters, they don’t essentially make smart selections.”


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