A rights group said that a Saudi Arabian court sentenced a woman, Nourah bint Saeed al-Qahtani, to 45 years in jail for her social media posts.

Al-Qahtani was convicted "likely within last week" by the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court, reported Reuters. Citing court documents, Washington-based organization Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) said in a statement that she was convicted on charges of "using the internet to tear the (Saudi) social fabric" and "violating public order by using social media." They said that not much was known about Al-Qahtani or what her social media posts said.

The news comes weeks after Salma al-Shehab, a doctoral candidate at the University of Leeds in Britain and a mother of two, was sentenced to 35 years in jail. She was sentenced for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter. She told a Saudi court that she had faced harassment and abuse during her detention.

These cases came after U.S. President Joe Biden cited human rights concerns during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July. It is a major sore point in relations between the U.S. and its traditional ally Riyadh.

The Al-Qahtani and Al-Shehab cases underscored a crackdown on dissent driven by Prince Mohammed, who has championed reforms like allowing women to drive and pushed projects to create jobs. He is the de facto Saudi ruler.

Family members of Saudi political inmates were initially hoping Biden's trip would help bring about the release of their loved ones that have been jailed as part of the crackdown.

In the Al-Shebab and Al-Qahtani cases, Saudi authorities used "abusive" laws to target and punish Saudi citizens for criticizing the government on Twitter, said Abdullah al-Aoudh, Director of Research for the Gulf Region at DAWN. He noted that this is "only half the story." The reason being, even the crown prince would "not allow such vindictive and excessive sentences if he felt that these actions would be met by meaningful censure by the United States and other Western governments."

The Guardian reported that the U.S. State Department on Monday said that it has raised “significant concerns” with Saudi authorities about Al-Shehab’s case. A spokesperson, Ned Price, said that they have made the point to the authorities that "freedom of expression is a universal human right to which all people are entitled and exercising those universal rights should never be criminalized." Price shared that the State Department was following the case “very closely.” He also said that the US had had “a number” of conversations with Saudi counterparts in recent days.

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