Saudi female blogger jailed for 'offensive' tweet released
Suad Al Shammari had been held in jail in Jeddah since October. (Photo: AFP/File)
A Saudi activist who has been reportedly detained for three months in the Red Sea city of Jeddah for a tweet was released on Sunday.
Suad Al Shammari had been incarcerated in the women’s section at the General Prison of Briman in Jeddah, local news desk Sabq reported.
The activist was apprehended in late October following formal complaints by religious figures over a tweet they found offensive to Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
However, Suad said she was not targeting Islam, claiming her earlier tweets supported her argument.
Suad waded into controversy in 2013 when she said on the microblog that the Islamic saying that men should have beards to distinguish them from non-believers did not make sense.
“Several atheists, Jews and Communists in the past had, and in the present have, beards, and even Abu Jahl [a polytheist pagan leader] had a beard that was longer than that of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH),” she reportedly said.
Several senior religious figures in the Saudi kingdom condemned her tweet, accusing her of denigrating Islam and targeting the Prophet, and calling for severe action against her, including putting her on trial.
According to Saudi reports, a commission to support Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had repeatedly requested Suad to put an end to her ‘misleading and misinformed’ tweets that were offensive to Islam. The commission had also called the telecommunication authorities in the Saudi kingdom to shut down her accounts on social networks.
The move against her was supported by several social media users who joined in the call for action against her, saying that she had gone too far in targeting Islam.
Suad was the co-founder of the Saudi Liberals group along with Raef Badawi, who is currently serving a prison sentence on charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and ridiculing religious figures.