DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: A Saudi court has sentenced a doctoral student to 34 years in
prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents, according to court documents obtained Thursday,
a decision that has drawn growing global condemnation.
Activists and lawyers consider the sentence against Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and a researcher at
Leeds University in Britain, shocking even by Saudi standards of justice.
Al-Shehab was detained during a family vacation in January 2021 just days before she planned to return to
the United Kingdom, according to the Freedom Initiative, a Washington-based human rights group.
Al-Shehab told judges she had been jailed for over 285 days before her case was even referred to court, the
legal documents obtained by The Associated Press show.