August 14, 2018
URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
SAU 005 / 0818 / OBS 103
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment /
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Saudi Arabia.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of Ms. Samar Badawi
and Ms. Nassima Al-Sadah 
, two prominent women human rights defenders
According to the information received, on July 30, 2018, security forces arrested Ms. Samar Badawi and Ms. Nassima Al-Sadah. No information is available about neither the circumstances nor the reasons of their arrests. The two human rights defenders are currently held in an unknown location and no information has been provided on their whereabouts and conditions of detention.
The Observatory recalls that over the past years, Ms. Samar Badawi has been repeatedly harassed, interrogated and arrested by the authorities for her human rights activities. Prior to her arrest, Ms. Samar Badawi appeared before the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution, on February 15, 2017, regarding previous issues related to her human rights and civil activities, including women’s campaign against male guardians. On January 12, 2016, she was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Authority of Jeddah without any reason, and released on bail the next day. On December 2, 2014, while on her way to participate to the 16th European Union NGOs Forum on Human Rights in Brussels, Belgium, she was informed by a staff from the airport that she was under a travel ban, without any reason given or prior investigation.
The Observatory condems in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of Ms. Samar Badawi and Ms. Nassima Al-Sadah and urges the Saudi authorities to immediately disclose their whereabouts as well as to insure unhindered access to their families and lawyers.
The Observatory further recalls that ahead of the official lift of the driving ban the Saudi authorities launched a crackdown on human rights defenders – and especially women human rights defenders
– in the country. As of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Ms. Hatoon Al-Fassi
, Ms. Nouf Abdulaziz
, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani
, Ms. Eman al-Nafjan
, Ms. Aziza al-Youssef
, Ms. Loujain al-Hathloul
, Mr. Mohammed al-Rabiah
, Mr. Mohamed al-Bejadi
, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Mesha’al
and Mr. Ibrahim al-Mudaimeegh
remain detained. While pro-governmental media outlets reported that they have been arrested under vague accusations of “suspicious contacts with foreign entities” and “financial support to enemies overseas”, no formal charges have yet been reportedly pressed against them. Moreover, they are reportedly all detained in solitary confinement, without access to their lawyers and they could only speak with their families once or twice since their arrests.