Saudi Court Sentences An Atheist To 10 Years In Prison

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A Saudi Arabian man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for being an atheist.

The unnamed 28-year-old man used Twitter to express his beliefs, The Independent reports.

In more than 600 tweets, he denied the existence of God, ridiculed verses in the Quran, accused prophets of lying and said their teachings fueled hostilities, according to a Saudi Court report.

His activity was uncovered by the Saudi Arabian “religious police,” who are in charge of monitoring social networks.

In 2014, the Saudi Arabian interior ministry established atheism as a terrorist act, according to Human Rights Watch.

The atheism regulation is one of many that may be used to criminalize expressions of criticism towards the government or Islam.

Under Article 1 of the interior ministry regulations, a terrorist act is any that involves, “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.”

The man admitted to being an atheist in court and refused to repent because what he wrote reflected his beliefs and he believes he has the right to express them, The Independent reports.

He will serve 10 years in prison, receive 2,000 lashes and have to pay a fine of roughly $5,300.

Sources: The Independent, Human Rights Watch / Photo credit: Mohammed J/Flickr

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