Saudi Twitter User With 10 Followers Sentenced to Death For Reposting Criticism of MBS


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Aleksey Nikolskyi / Sputnik via AP)

Human rights groups are expressing outrage over the death sentence imposed on a Saudi man for tweeting criticisms about controversial Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS.

Muhammad Alghamdi has just 10 followers on his two anonymous X social media accounts, according to National Public Radio. This is believed to be the first death sentence for online activity criticizing the Saudi government — others have been sentenced to 20 to 45 years in prison for their online activities.

Human Rights Watch reported that Saudi authorities arrested Alghamdi, a father of seven, in 2022 outside his home in Mecca. Court documents said Alghamdi “targeted the status of the King and the Crown Prince,” and that the “magnitude of his actions is amplified by the fact they occurred through a global media platform, necessitating a strict punishment,” according to HRW. The organization wrote:

The documents cite two X platform accounts as belonging to al-Ghamdi. Human Rights Watch found that the first account had two followers and the second had eight. Both accounts, which have fewer than 1,000 tweets combined, largely contained retweets of well-known critics of the Saudi government.

NPR reported that Saudis use X to express their views of the government. It cites the head of the human rights group ALQST as saying, “Everyone in the physical space, in real life, has self-censored themselves. They know they’re in danger, but people thought that maybe on Twitter, especially with an anonymous account, they could be safe.”

MBS made international headlines and has become a lightning rod of controversy after intelligence agencies concluded the crown prince ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, who was also critical of the Saudi regime.

Two X employees in the United States have been accused of leaking the names of anonymous account holders, sparking an FBI investigation, according to the Associated Press.

MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan called on X owner Elon Musk to comment on the situation, tweeting, “Still waiting for a ‘concerning’ post from the owner of this website, who claims to be a free speech champion and who also has… Saudi investors in this website. ”


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