Saudi Arabia has reportedly sentenced a young man to death for turning to atheism.
Earlier this week, a Saudi court dismissed an appeal from Ahmad Al Shamri, who has spent three years in prison on charges of apostasy and blasphemy, according to local media.
Al Shamri, who is in his 20s and lived in the city of Hafr Al-Batin in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, had reportedly renounced Islam and posted many videos on social media condemning the religion and Prophet Mohammad. The man was arrested soon after, convicted by a local court and sentenced to death in February 2015.
Al Shamri’s lawyer fought his case with an insanity plea citing his client was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he made the videos. However, he lost the Appeals Court case after the Supreme Court ruled against him earlier this week.
Saudi officials have not yet commented.
After the appeal was rejected, social media users have expressed mixed view over the decision under the hashtag, translated as “apostate from Hafar Al-Batin.”
Many social media users have condemned Saudi Arabia, point out it is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Saudi court sentences a young man to death for apostasy/riddah. Saudi Arabia is the head of human rights panel at the U.N #مرتد_حفرالباطن— A: يا سجون لمي :) (@Waddgod) April 25, 2017
#مرتد_حفرالباطن They criticize what happend in iraq and iran but they didnt see what they are doing!!— ♊️ (@1620__) April 25, 2017
He didn't do anything, he didn't hurt anyone,and you'll just kill him because he's just wanted to be different??? #مرتد_حفرالباطن— رهف (@iroof_x) April 25, 2017
#مرتد_حفرالباطن when a whole community turns into murderers thirsty for blood., it is time for the world to know— MOHAMED ALDAUSSARI (@SAUDIREBEL) April 26, 2017
However, some people believed the punishment is just.
Under the Gulf kingdom’s strict religion laws, renouncing Islam is punishable by corporeal punishment, severe prison sentences and even death. In fact, a 2014 series of royal verdicts under the late King Abdullah labeled atheists as “terrorists,” according to Human Rights Watch.
Sentencing people to death for turning away from religion is not an unusual occurrence in the country.
In 2015, the kingdom dished out the same punishment to a Saudi-born Palestinian man, Ashraf Fayadh, for apostasy and for alleged blasphemous statements in his poetry book and during a group discussion, according to Human Rights Watch.
Human rights watch dogs have consistently slammed Saudi Arabia abhorrent human rights record — despite that, the United Nations has seen fit for the country to be made a member of the UNHCR and, more recently, a member of the Commission on the Status of Women.