Video of Saudi military officer apparently renouncing Islam sparks controversy
The man in the video claims to be the secretary to an air force general (screenshot)
A short clip purporting to show a Saudi military officer abandoning Islam has sparked controversy on social media.
In the video a man dressed in military clothing claims that his name is Abdul Wahid Abdul Mohsen, a noncommissioned officer in the Saudi military.
The 90-second clip shows the young man announcing that he has “left Islam”, and is fleeing to Germany.
Mohsen alleges that he has seen reports regarding “Operation Decisive Storm”, the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, in his capacity as a military secretary. He then threatens to reveal what he calls the “crimes committed by Saudi Arabia against civilians in Yemen” once he reaches Germany.
The contentious and inflammatory video provoked anger on Twitter after it was shared widely on Saturday. The hashtag “a Saudi officer renounces Islam” was tweeted tens of thousands of times over the weekend.
Atheism reaches the Kingdom and must be punished!
However, many have questioned the authenticity of the video, suggesting that the identity card the man holds up is not real.
They haven't done the set-up right... the military identification card isn't authentic... nor is the identification [on his clothing].... Try again!
Some suggested the footage was created as a propaganda stunt on behalf of the Houthi rebels and supporters of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh whom the Saudi-led coalition has been fighting in Yemen since March 2015.
The Houthis and Saleh's militias have lost in the field, so they tried to make up for it in the media in a fabricated, acted video clip
In the ultra-conservative Gulf state, atheism is a punishable offence. In 2014, new laws were introduced defining atheists as terrorists, according to Human Rights Watch. Last year, a young Saudi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism on social media, and refusing to repent.
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