Twitter goes wild over reported death penalty for 'atheism' in Saudi Arabia
On Tuesday, a Saudi Arabian court dismissed an appeal from Ahmad Al Shamri, who had spent three years in prison over charges of “atheism and blasphemy,” the Exmuslim website reports.
Al Shamri was in his early 20s and lived the city of Hafr Al-Batin in the country’s Eastern Province, according to the website. He had reportedly renounced Islam and posted various videos reflecting his views on social media. The man was arrested in 2014, faced trial and was sentenced to death in February 2015.
After the appeal was rejected, social media users were split over the court decision, posting their comments under a trending hashtag, which can be translated from Arabic as “apostate from Hafar Al-Batin.”
Many social media users condemned Saudi Arabia, pointing out that the country is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Saudi court sentences a young man to death for apostasy/riddah. Saudi Arabia is the head of human rights panel at the U.N #مرتد_حفرالباطن— A: يا سجون لمي :) (@Waddgod) April 25, 2017
#مرتد_حفرالباطن They criticize what happend in iraq and iran but they didnt see what they are doing!!— ♊️ (@1620__) April 25, 2017
Some said the country has double standards towards religious freedom.
Others said that the man did not deserve the death sentence.
He didn't do anything, he didn't hurt anyone,and you'll just kill him because he's just wanted to be different??? #مرتد_حفرالباطن— رهف (@iroof_x) April 25, 2017
#مرتد_حفرالباطن when a whole community turns into murderers thirsty for blood., it is time for the world to know— MOHAMED ALDAUSSARI (@SAUDIREBEL) April 26, 2017
In addition to its UNHRC membership, Saudi Arabia was appointed to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on Sunday.
One Twitter user translated several posts to make the world aware of some users’ positive reactions. Some supported the punishment, saying that it is appropriate for apostasy in Islam.
Others wish they could watch the execution.