Saudi King Abdullah in August 2012
Saudi King Abdullah in August 2012 Reuters

A Saudi court in Jeddah has ordered the permanent closure of a liberal website for publishing what was perceived as “anti-Islamic content”, Al Arabiya reported on Sunday, citing the Saudi news website Sabq.

According to Sabq, a number of Saudis had demanded the closure of the Saudi Liberal Network for posting stories and comments that are considered against religion and morality.

The website said the court’s decision “prompted good reactions by many of those who had called for such an action and had filed lawsuits against the network and its members,” according to Al Arabiya.

In August last year, a court sentenced the founder of the website Zaef Badawi to seven years and three months in jail in addition to 600 flogs “for establishing a liberal website and adopting the liberal thinking and insulting Islam,” Sabq reported.

A higher court later overturned that decision and ordered a retrial by a different court.

Saudi Arabia, which is notorious for its violations of human rights, recently introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists.

Lashes are a common punishment in the kingdom for offenses such as insulting the King, blasphemy, or even insulting members of one’s own tribe.

Despite its less than stellar human rights record, the kingdom recently won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, being one of several countries with questionable human rights records to win seats in this body.