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Saudi drops death penalty for female activist

February 2, 2019 at 11:39 am

Under heavy pressure by rights groups and mass media, Saudi Arabia has dropped the death penalty against female activist Israa Al-Ghamgham.

Speaking to Newsweek on Thursday, the Saudi Embassy in London said that Saudi Arabia’s “public prosecutor is calling for a prison term, fines and the confiscation of anything found to have been used in her alleged crimes”.

An embassy spokesperson later denied that the Kingdom’s public prosecutor had ever sought the death penalty for Al-Ghamgham.

Al-Ghamgham has been detained since 2015 after participating in anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia. She was accused of traveling abroad to attend courses on organising rallies and protests, using social media to promote and document events and using Facebook groups to disseminate videos.

“Replacing the death penalty [remains] a continued violation as she is charged with offences relating to the expression of peaceful opinions,” Ali Adubisi, director of the European-Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, told Newsweek.

He added: “Therefore, the request for imprisonment instead of execution is a form of continuous pressure on peaceful activists.”

Read: Amnesty reveals new testimonies of Saudi activists’ torture