The foreign secretary has been urged to intervene in the case of a Leeds University student who has been jailed for three decades in Saudi Arabia for using Twitter.
Salma al-Shehab, a 34-year-old Saudi national who lives in the UK, was arrested on a visit to see family at the start of last year.
The PHD student was initially sentenced to six years in prison but this was increased to 34 years this week following an appeal.
This was reported to be the longest-known sentence to be given to a women’s rights activist in Saudi Arabia.
Hilary Benn, the Labour MP for Leeds Central, has now written to Liz Truss calling on her to intervene in Ms al-Shehab.
“It seems that all she has done is use her Twitter account to support women’s rights and greater freedom, and to call for the release of imprisoned activists in Saudi Arabia,” his letter said.
The Leeds MP wrote: “Ms al-Shehab has two young sons and a husband, and I am sure you will agree with me that this is an absolutely shocking sentence which is completely at odds with Saudi Arabia’s claim to be improving human rights, in particular for women.
”I would be very grateful if you could make representations to the Saudi authorities on behalf of Ms al-Shehab so that she can be freed to return to her family and to her students at the University of Leeds.”
Judges accused Ms al-Shehab of “disturbing public order” and “destabilising the social fabric” – claims stemming solely from her social media activity, according to an official charge sheet.
They alleged Ms al-Shehab followed and retweeted dissident accounts on Twitter and “transmitted false rumours”.
A special court for terrorism and national security crimes handed down the unusually harsh 34-year sentence, which is to be followed by a 34-year travel ban.
Leeds University said Ms al-Shehab was a student in the final year of doctoral studies at the medical school and it was “deeply concerned” to hear about the development.
It came amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on dissent even as his rule granted women the right to drive and other new freedoms.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has been approached for comment.
Additional reporting by Associated Press