Saudi Netflix show creator says convicted by anti-terrorism court

AFP , Thursday 4 Jul 2024

Saudi TV creator Abdulaziz Almuzaini, whose animated Netflix show has made waves for breaking social taboos, said he had been convicted by an anti-terrorism court.

Abdulaziz Almuzaini
(Photo: Abdulaziz Almuzaini s X account)


The kingdom's Specialised Criminal Court, established in 2008 to try suspects accused of terrorism, "issued against me (a sentence of) 13 years, followed by a 13-year travel ban", Almuzaini said in a video posted online last week that was subsequently deleted.

In a second video posted this week, which is still available on social media platform X, Almuzaini filmed himself inside a car, saying: "I am banned from travelling" out of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP on Thursday, and there was no word of Almuzaini -- who was not available for comment -- having been incarcerated.

His satirical show "Masameer County", billed as "a humorous view on a changing Saudi", debuted in 2021.

Episodes tackled topics such as disputes among tribes and Islamic militancy, and even featured oblique references to homosexuality, a potential capital crime in Saudi Arabia.

Almuzaini said in the since-deleted video that the court accused him of promoting homosexuality and militancy.

He also said that, amid mounting pressure from Saudi authorities, he was forced to close his company, Myrkott Animation Studio.

"The services of all the employees of the Myrkott company were terminated a week ago," he said.

"Those are people who have families, people who have worked with us since 2012. I had to stand up and apologise to them all and announce to them that Myrkott had ended."

The video included a direct appeal to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who became first in line to the throne in 2017 and has overseen sweeping social and economic reforms

"I believe that we are in a country ruled by a rational family, and if one of its citizens is subjected to injustice, I have faith that my voice reaching His Highness the crown prince will correct some of what happened to me," Almuzaini said.


*This story was edited by Ahram Online.


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