Despite claims from the government (outside of Saudi Arabia) that it is seeking to modernize its legal system, the Sharia-based Saudi system continues to churn out abuses that shock the conscience. The latest victims are three lawyers who have been jailed for Tweets denouncing the Saudi court system — widely ridiculed by lawyers around the world as a medieval anachronism.
The lawyers observed that the Saudi legal system was “retarded.” For that insult, they were arrested and convicted of “disobeying the ruler” as well as undermining and slandering the judicial system. They have received sentences up to eight years. Notably, the court also banned them from using social media, traveling, or speaking to the media. It was the classic “bag and gag” approach of authoritarian regimes for those who exercise free speech.
The comments were denounced by the government as being made “to undermine public order” and bring the courts into disrepute. Given the widespread view of lawyers of the Sharia system, it hardly took these three lawyers to bring the Saudi court system into disrepute. Indeed, this very case demonstrates why the system is widely mocked and ridiculed. One lawyer received eight years in prison and the other two received five years each. They are also banned “from appearing in the media or writing in it, and through social media whatsoever, even under different IDs/names.”
We previously discussed the earlier case where a Saudi court handed down a 10-year sentence for Tweets that insulted the Kingdom’s political and religious leaders. Clerics have called for Tweeters to be executed for blasphemous tweets.