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September 5, 2018

Saudi Arabia declares online satire a punishable offence

Agencies

Saudi Arabia will punish online satire that "disrupts public order" with up to five years in prison, the public prosecutor said on Tuesday.

"Producing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disrupts public order, religious values and public morals through social media ... will be considered a cybercrime punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($800,000)," the public prosecution tweeted late Monday.

Dozens of Saudi citizens have been convicted on charges linked to dissent under a previous sweeping law, particularly linked to posts on Twitter.

In September 2017, authorities issued a public call for citizens to report on the social media activities of their fellow citizens, under a broad definition of "terrorist" crimes.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor on Tuesday also announced it was seeking the death penalty in the case against Sheikh Salman Al Awda, a prominent cleric arrested last year along with 20 others.

Saudi Arabia declares online satire a punishable offence

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