Leeds ‘deeply concerned’ for PhD student jailed in Saudi Arabia

Salma al-Shehab given 34-year sentence over critical posts on Twitter

August 18, 2022
Parkinson Building of the University of Leeds, UK
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The University of Leeds has said it is “deeply concerned” about one of its PhD students, who has been jailed for 34 years in Saudi Arabia over critical tweets.

Salma al-Shehab, who is in the final year of a doctorate in Leeds’ School of Medicine, was arrested while on holiday in the kingdom in 2021.

Before the trip, the mother of two, a Saudi citizen, had shared posts calling for reforms and the release of activists.

She was initially jailed for six years late in 2021 after being found guilty of breaking counterterrorism and anti-cybercrime laws, according to reports.

But this was increased to 34 years – to be followed by a 34-year travel ban on her release – after the public prosecutor asked a court to consider new charges.

A Leeds spokesman said: “We are deeply concerned to learn of this recent development in Salma’s case and we are seeking advice on whether there is anything we can do to support her.

“Our thoughts remain with Salma, her family and her friends among our close-knit community of postgraduate researchers.”

Ms al-Shehab is reportedly also a lecturer at Princess Nourah University in Riyadh.


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