A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a Yemeni blogger living in Riyadh to jail and then deportation for a social media post supporting equal rights for all in Saudi Arabia, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
The tweet features a video of Mohamad al-Bokari responding on social media to whether he supported equal rights. He says: “Everyone has rights and should be able to practice them freely, including gay people.”
Al-Bokari was arrested and detained for 6 weeks leading up to the trial. The court sentenced him on July 20 to 10 months imprisonment for “violating public morality” and “imitating women.” The decision seems also to be based on ongoing pre-conceptions from authorities as to al-Bokari’s sexual orientation, which had originally forced him to flee from Yemen to Saudi Arabia due to threats on his life by armed groups in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has an uncodified legal system that contains no express laws on gender identity or discriminating according to sexual orientation, but judges have often issued convictions for “immorality,” for instance homosexual activity outside of marriage. Al-Bokari will have 30 days to appeal the case, or faces deportation following his sentences’ completion.