Harsh prison sentences for two Wikipedia members in Saudi Arabia

Harsh prison sentences for two Wikipedia members in Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities haveoffsideWikipedia and sentenced two administrators of this participatory online encyclopedia to harsh prison terms, the human rights NGO announced Thursday, January 5.

A survey conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia’s parent company, hasHe revealed that the Saudi government had hacked the Wikipedia team in the region at the highest levelThe non-governmental organizations Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) and Beirut-based SMEX said in a joint statement.

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Wikipedia administrators

Two Wikipedia administrators—volunteers who enjoy privileged access to the pages of the online encyclopedia in order to free restricted pages for as many people as possible—were arrested in September 2020, they claim. They are Osama Khaled and Ziyad Al-Sufyani, according to these two organizations. Abdullah Al-Awda, director of research in the Gulf region at DAWN, said that they were sentenced to 32 and 8 years in prison, respectively.

This Washington-based non-governmental organization was founded by Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose assassination in 2018 was blamed by US intelligence on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which the Saudi authorities deny. “The arrest of Osama Khaled and Ziyad Al-Sufyani on the one hand, and the infiltration of Wikipedia, shows a terrifying vision of how the Saudi government seeks to control the narrative and Wikipedia.Mr. Al-Awda was denounced by Agence France-Presse.

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During this investigation, which began in January 2022, Wikimedia was able to “Confirmation that a number of users close to third parties are modifying the platform in a coordinated manner to advance the agenda of these actors“According to the NGO release. Wikimedia states that the Saudis are acting on behalf of the Saudi government, reassuring DAWN and SMEX, who depend on it.”Whistleblowers and trusted sourcesAFP was unable to immediately obtain comment from Saudi authorities or from Wiktionary, Wiktionary’s parent company.

Last month, Wikimedia announced in a statement that it was banning 16 users from its educational platforms.Who have a conflict of interest when editing projects (pages) on Wikipedia in the Middle East and North Africa regionThese incidents come shortly after a US court sentenced a former Twitter employee to three and a half years in prison on December 15 on charges of spying for Saudi officials.

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