A Saudi student at Leeds University, Salma al-Shebab, 34, who was said to be returning to the United kingdom for a holiday when she was arrested, has been sentenced to 34 years for using a Twitter account and for following and retweeting dissident activists.
The mother of two was accused of using Twitter to cause public unrest and destabilise civil and national security after she posted tweets calling for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
The Daily Mail reports that Al-Shebab, who has two young sons aged four and six, was earlier sentenced to six years in prison but a Saudi terrorism court, Monday, increased her jail term to 34 years after the activist appealed her sentence.
She is said to also be facing a 34-year travel ban upon the expiration of her jail term.
Al-Shebab was said to have been arrested in January 2021 while on holiday in Saudi Arabia just as she planned to return to the United Kingdom, where she was a PhD student at the University of Leeds.
It was gathered that in delivering the judgement, the court cited Al-Shebab’s social media activity where she tweeted in support of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and expressed solidarity with imprisoned women right activists such as Loujain al-Hathloul, and subsequently called for their freedom.
She was said to have been arrested after she retweeted a post from Al-Hathloul’s sister, Lina.
The post read, “Freedom for Loujain Al-Hathloul … Freedom for all prisoners of conscience. Your freedom is my first wish for this New Year – Happy New Year.” the Daily Mail reported.
She was accused of ‘providing succour to those seeking to disrupt public order and undermine the safety of the general public and stability of the state, and publishing false and tendentious rumours on Twitter‘
This handout picture provided by the office of Libya’s Benghazi-based interim prime minister on September 11, 2023 shows a view of destroyed vehicles and damaged buildings in the eastern city of Derna, about 290 kilometres east of Benghazi, in the wake of the Mediterranean storm “Daniel”. (Photo by The Press Office of Libyan Prime Minister / AFP)
At least 2,300 people were killed in Libya and thousands more were reported missing after catastrophic flash floods broke river dams and tore through an eastern coastal city, devastating entire neighbourhoods.
As global concern spread, multiple nations offered to urgently send aid and rescue teams to help the war-scarred country that has been overwhelmed by what one UN official labelled “a calamity of epic proportions”.
Massive destruction shattered the Mediterranean coastal city of Derna, home to about 100,000 people, where multi-storey buildings on the river banks collapsed and houses and cars vanished in the raging waters.
Emergency services reported an initial death toll of more than 2,300 in Derna alone and said over 5,000 people remained missing while about 7,000 were injured.
“The situation in Derna is shocking and very dramatic,” said Osama Ali of the Tripoli-based Rescue and Emergency Service. “We need more support to save lives because there are people still under the rubble and every minute counts.”
The floods were caused by torrential rains from Storm Daniel, which made landfall in Libya on Sunday after earlier lashing Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Derna, 250 kilometres (150 miles) east of Benghazi, is ringed by hills and bisected by what is normally a dry riverbed in summer, but which has turned into a raging torrent of mud-brown water that also swept away several major bridges.
The number of dead given by the Libyan emergency service roughly matched the grim estimates provided by the Red Cross and by authorities in the east, who have warned the death toll may yet rise further.
“The death toll is huge and might reach thousands,” said Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, three of whose volunteers were also reported dead.
“We confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 persons so far,” Ramadan added.
Elsewhere in Libya’s east, aid group the Norwegian Refugee Council said “entire villages have been overwhelmed by the floods and the death toll continues to rise”.
“Communities across Libya have endured years of conflict, poverty and displacement. The latest disaster will exacerbate the situation for these people. Hospitals and shelters will be overstretched.”
People look at the damage caused by freak floods in Derna, eastern Libya, on September 11, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
The storm also hit Benghazi and the hill district of Jabal al-Akhdar. Flooding, mudslides and other major damage were reported from the wider region, with images showing overturned cars and trucks.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation, which has its main fields and terminals in eastern Libya, declared “a state of maximum alert” and suspended flights between production sites where it said activity was drastically reduced.
Oil-rich Libya is still recovering from the years of war and chaos that followed the 2011 NATO-backed popular uprising which toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
The country is divided between two rival governments — the UN-brokered, internationally recognised administration based in Tripoli, and a separate administration in the disaster-hit east.
Access to the east is limited. Phone and online links have been largely severed, but the administration’s prime minister Oussama Hamad has reported “more than 2,000 dead and thousands missing” in Derna alone.
A Derna city council official described the situation as “catastrophic” and asked for a “national and international intervention”.
Libya’s UN-backed government under Abdelhamid Dbeibah announced three days of national mourning on Monday and emphasised “the unity of all Libyans”.
Aid convoys from Tripoli were heading east and Dbeibah’s government announced the dispatch of two ambulance planes and a helicopter, as well as rescue teams, canine search squads and 87 doctors, and technicians to restore power.
Rescue teams from Turkey have arrived in eastern Libya, according to authorities, and the United Nations and several countries offered to send aid.
Egypt announced three days of mourning “in solidarity” with Libya and earthquake-hit Morocco and offered to send aid to both countries.
Algeria said it was sending aid aboard eight military planes and Italy said it was “responding immediately to requests for support” with an assessment team on the way.
The United States embassy said it had “issued an official declaration of humanitarian need in response to the devastating floods in Libya”.
Two easyJet passengers were caught by a cabin crew member having sex on the flight to Ibiza
• Cabin crew member caught them in the act during flight
Two easyJet passengers were led away by police in Ibiza after they were caught having sex in the plane toilet during a flight when a cabin crew member opened the door to expose them.
Video shows passengers cheering and shouting as the easyJet employee pulled back the door on the duo.
But footage from the fight from Luton appears to show the couple were in no mood to stop early, with the man promptly shutting the door again so they could join the so-called ‘Mile High Club’.
An EasyJet spokesperson told MailOnline the flight was met by police on arrival on the Spanish party island.
• Two easyJet passengers were caught by a cabin crew member having sex on the flight to Ibiza
Those in the rear seats who watched the situation unfold appeared to find what was happening hilarious and could be seen watching opened mouthed. One woman was heard screaming ‘Oh my f***ing God’, before asking her friend if she had videoed what happened.
But the cabin crew member seemed unsure how to respond and could be seen in the clip holding his head in the hands after catching the couple in the act.
The video has been shared widely on social media, with one user joking: ‘Ryanair would charge extra.’ Another added: ‘Hope that wasn’t the pilot.’
….The incident happened on an easyJet flight from London Luton to Ibiza last Friday (file image)
An easyJet spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘We can confirm that this flight from Luton to Ibiza on September 8 was met by police on arrival due to the behaviour of two passengers onboard.’