Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Number of prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia increases to 2,613

September 17, 2018

The number of prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia has increased to 2,613 detainees, according to Saudi human rights sources.

The Twitter account of Prisoners of Conscience concerned with the detainees in Saudi Arabia stated in a tweet that: “the number of prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia has increased to 2,613 detainees.”

The Twitter account added that “prominent lawyers, judges, academics, Muslim scholars, and media professionals” were among the detainees.

It is noteworthy that there are detainees in the Kingdom who have been imprisoned for more than 10 years either under sentences approved by the court against them or without charges and judicial rulings.

Since September 10, 2017, there have been hundreds of arrests in Saudi Arabia, despite human rights activists’ denunciation, and calls from international organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to immediately release detainees, and precedent calls to immediately disclose their whereabouts and allow them to communicate with their families and lawyers.

In May, the arrests reached human rights activists and feminist activists. They were accused by authorities of having connections with foreign parties as a result of their activity on women’s rights.








https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2018/09/11/arabie-saoudite-liberer-les-militantes-des-droits-des-femmes-detenues (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1134624/lautre-justin-trudeau.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.elmundo.es/opinion/2018/09/17/5b9e54bb22601d75658b45d4.html (ESPANOL)


Saudi Arabia/Canada: Outrageous ongoing detention of women’s rights defenders reaches 100 days

August 23, 2018

Image result for samar badawi

The ongoing arbitrary detention of several women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia is outrageous, Amnesty International said today, as three prominent activists reach 100 days of being held without charge.

Since May, at least 12 leading human rights activists in Saudi Arabia have been detained without charge. Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were all imprisoned on 15 May and today (23 August) marks 100 days since their detention.

“It is absolutely outrageous that so many brave human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia are still being held without charge – apparently for simply speaking out against injustice,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns.

“They have been detained without charge and with no legal representation for more than three months. This must not go on any longer. The world cannot carry on looking the other way as this relentless persecution of those who stand up for human rights in Saudi Arabia continues.”

To mark the 100 day anniversary, Amnesty International is today mobilising its supporters worldwide to stand with the detained human rights defenders. As part of the campaign, Amnesty International supporters are gathering in multiple cities around the world to protest outside of Saudi Arabian embassies. They will be putting pressure on the Saudi Arabian authorities, as well as their own governments, to take action to secure the release of the women human rights defenders and all prisoners of conscience who have been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef have faced accusations in state-aligned media which include forming a “cell” and posing a threat to state security for their “contact with foreign entities with the aim of undermining the country’s stability and social fabric”. Amnesty International understands that the three women may be charged and tried by the country’s notorious counter-terror court, which has been used in other instances to try human rights defenders and deliver harsh prison sentences.

Earlier this month, two more prominent women human rights activists – Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada – were also detained. Others detained recently include women’s rights activists Nouf Abdulaziz and Maya’a al-Zahrani, and activists who have previously been persecuted for their human rights work, such as Mohammed al-Bajadi and Khalid al-Omeir. Hatoon al-Fassi, a prominent women’s rights activist and academic was also reportedly detained a few days after Saudi Arabia lifted the driving ban in June.

So far, a total of 12 human rights defenders have been detained: eight women and four men. The crackdown began shortly before Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving in the country. Many of the activists detained campaigned for the right to drive and the end of the repressive male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia for many years.








https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-2018/sept-2018-gazette.pdf#page=19 (at page 16)


https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1935 (ARABIC)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2018/08/22/01003-20180822ARTFIG00232-la-militante-saoudienne-israa-al-ghomgham-risque-la-decapitation.php (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/08/17/les-valeurs-des-lumieres-n-appartiennent-pas-qu-a-l-homme-blanc_5343245_3232.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20180823/451413919665/ai-denuncia-que-tres-activistas-saudies-llevan-100-dias-en-prision-sin-cargos.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/saudi-arabien-israa-al-ghamgham-droht-die-enthauptung-a-1224434.html (DEUTSCH)

https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mundo/2018/08/arabia-saudita-busca-pena-de-morte-para-cinco-ativistas-de-direitos-humanos.shtml (PORTUGUES)

https://www.ilpost.it/2018/08/23/attivista-politica-arabia-saudita-rischia-pena-di-morte/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/saoedi-arabie-eist-doodstraf-tegen-vijf-activisten-onder-wie-een-vrouw~b742c553/ (NEDERLANDS)

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Saudi Arabia/Canada: Arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention of prominent women human rights defenders Samar Badawi and Nassima Al-Sadah

August 14, 2018

OMCT LogoOMCT logo

SAU 005 / 0818 / OBS 103
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment /
Incommunicado detention
Saudi Arabia
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[1] and Ms. Nassima Al-Sadah [2], two prominent women human rights defenders[3].
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[4]– 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’aland 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.







http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2018/08/10/01003-20180810ARTFIG00216-rien-ne-va-plus-entre-le-canada-et-l-arabie-saoudite.php (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waleed_Abu_al-Khair (FRANCAIS)

Saudi Arabia/Canada: Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador after criticism of arrest of women’s rights activists

August 6, 2018

‘Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada’s internal affairs’

Saudi Arabia has given the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom 24 hours to leave after Ottawa criticised the arrest of women’s rights activists in the ultra-conservative country.

The Saudi foreign ministry also said it was freezing “all new business” between the two states and had withdrawn its own ambassador.

“Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada’s internal affairs,” it declared in an extraordinary statement on Sunday night.

The spat comes after Canada’s diplomatic department tweeted about the detention of two more activists in the Middle Eastern country on Friday, the latest in a crackdown which began in May.

“Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi,” it posted. “We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”

Ms Badawi, arrested last week, is a lawyer and sister to blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison in 2012 for criticising clerics. His wife Ensaf Haidar and three children now live in Quebec.

Her whereabouts, and those of Nassima al-Sadah, are currently unknown. Several other prominent female activists remain in prison near Jeddah, where no charges have been brought against them.


















http://www.france24.com/fr/20180806-riyad-expulse-ambassadeur-canada-critiques-droits-lhomme-badawi-arabie-saoudite (FRANCAIS)

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1116070/larrestation-de-samar-badawi-suscite-des-reactions (FRANCAIS)

https://www.amnesty.fr/liberte-d-expression/petitions/liberte-pour-3-defenseures-en-arabie-saoudite (FRANCAIS – SIGNEZ LA PETITION!)

https://www.derstandard.de/story/2000084863817/samar-badawi-eine-frau-kaempft-gegen-die-verhaeltnisse (DEUTSCH)

https://www.dw.com/de/schwester-von-raif-badawi-in-saudi-arabien-festgenommen/a-44919296 (DEUTSCH)

https://www.ilpost.it/2018/08/06/arabia-saudita-canada-samar-badawi/ (ITALIANO)

https://veja.abril.com.br/mundo/arabia-saudita-expulsa-diplomata-canadense-e-convoca-enviado-a-ottawa/ (PORTUGUES)

Saudi Arabia/AI: Women now allowed to drive, but more reforms must follow

June 21, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to drive is welcome but must now be followed by more reforms to women’s rights, Amnesty International said today.

This weekend (Sunday 24 June) women will be allowed to drive in the country as the controversial driving ban is lifted.

However, leading women’s rights activists and campaigners against the driving ban – including Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef – are among eight activists still being detained in Saudi Arabia for their peaceful human rights work. Some have been detained without charge for more than one month, and may face trial before the counter-terror court and up to 20 years in prison for their activism.

The women’s rights activists detained have campaigned for the right to drive and the end of the repressive male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia for many years.

Under Saudi Arabia’s repressive guardianship system, women and girls face systematic discrimination, both in law and in practice. Women are unable to travel, engage in paid work or higher education, or marry without the permission of a male guardian. In addition, Saudi Arabian women married to foreign nationals cannot pass on their nationality to their children, unlike Saudi Arabian men in a similar situation.

Chilling effect of recent smear campaign

The latest crackdown on women’s rights activists comes despite Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman presenting himself as a ‘reformer’. His international public relations campaign contrasts sharply with an intensifying crackdown on dissenting voices, including those campaigning for equal rights for women.

On 19 May, the Saudi Arabian authorities and government-aligned media launched a public smear campaign to try to discredit five prominent detained women’s rights defenders as “traitors” following their arrest. Official statements in state media accused the activists and other individuals of forming a “cell” and posing a threat to state security for their “contact with foreign entities with the aim of undermining the country’s stability and social fabric”.










https://www.rtbf.be/tendance/detente/detail_arabie-saoudite-apres-la-fin-de-l-interdiction-des-femmes-au-volant-dans-les-rues-de-ryad?id=9954502 (FRANCAIS)

https://magazin.zenith.me/de/presseschau/verhaftung-von-aktivisten-saudi-arabien (DEUTSCH)

Saudi Arabia: Unrelenting Crackdown on Activists

June 20, 2018

Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 12, 2018. © 2018 Reuters

Saudi authorities have arrested two more women’s rights activists in recent days in what appears to be an unrelenting crackdown on the women’s rights movement, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi activists have reported that the authorities have placed travel bans on numerous others since May 15.


On June 6, Saudi authorities arrested the writer and activist Nouf Abdelaziz, who had publicly expressed solidarity with three women’s rights activists arrested in May, along with at least 14 other activists and supporters. On June 10, the authorities arrested Mayaa al-Zahrani, an activist and friend of Abdelaziz, after she reportedly posted a letter Abdelaziz asked her to make public in case of her arrest. In the letter, addressed to her fellow Saudis, Abdelaziz explained who she was, stressing that she committed no crime: “I am not a provoker, not a vandalizer, not a terrorist, a criminal or a traitor… I have never been [anything] but a good citizen who loves her country and wishes for it nothing but the best.” Both women are being held incommunicado.
“The Saudi government appears determined to leave its citizens without any space to show even rhetorical support for activists jailed in this unforgiving crackdown on dissent,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Nouf Abdelaziz and Mayaa al-Zahrani’s only ‘crime’ seems to be expressing solidarity with their fellow imprisoned activists.”
On June 4, the local newspaper Okaz reported that nine detained activists, four women and five men, will soon be referred to the Specialized Criminal Court, which was originally established to try detainees held in connection with terrorism offenses, to be tried for committing three “serious” crimes: “cooperating with entities hostile to the kingdom,” “recruiting persons in a sensitive government agency to obtain confidential information to harm the interests of the kingdom,” and “providing financial and moral support to hostile elements abroad.”


Okaz earlier reported that, 15 days into the activists’ detention, an investigating body had announced that all nine detainees had confessed to the latter two accusations. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.
Among those arrested are the prominent women’s rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, and Aziza al-Yousef; Ibrahim al-Modaimeegh, a lawyer; Mohammad al-Rabea, an activist; and Abdulaziz al-Meshaal, a philanthropist. They face charges similar to those against several imprisoned activists currently serving lengthy prison terms, including Waleed Abu al-KhairFadil al-Manasif, and Nadhir al-Majed. Immediately following their arrest, in a coordinated campaign, local media outlets publicly accused those detained of treason.









https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1770&ea.campaign.id=103929&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=FBpostSaudiWHRD (PETITION – PLEASE SIGN!)

http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/06/23/des-defenseurs-saoudiens-des-droits-des-femmes-derriere-les-barreaux_1661391 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.estrepublicain.fr/actualite/2018/06/23/arabie-plusieurs-militants-des-droits-des-femmes-arretes (FRANCAIS)

https://www.elconfidencial.com/mundo/2018-05-23/arabia-saudi-represion-mujeres-prohibiciones_1568058/ (ESPANOL)


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Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia women ‘arrested’ in ongoing crackdown on activists

June 10, 2018

UK-based human rights group says Mayaa al-Zahrani and Nouf Abdelaziz al-Jerawi detained this week by Saudi authorities.

2 More Female Activists Arrested in Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities have arrested two more women’s rights activist in the last three days, according to a human rights group.

ALQST, a UK-based rights group focusing on Saudi Arabia, said Mayaa al-Zahrani was detained on Saturday for a social media post in support of Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jerawi, a fellow activist arrested on Wednesday when security forces raided her home.

Al-Zahrani had also posted an article written by al-Jerawi, where the latter clarified her role as volunteering to help the oppressed by putting them in contact with lawyers and human rights groups.

“Why am I considered as an enemy of the state that threatens its security?” al-Jerawi wrote in a post that has been widely circulated.

ALQST described the detention of the two women as part of “the ongoing arrests of activists”.

“We believe the Saudi authorities are keen to suppress all activists, and all sympathy with them,” the rights group said.

The arrests were also reported by Prisoners of Conscience, a rights group that documents the arrests of Saudi nationals.

Last month, the government announced that a number of activists were being held for having suspicious contacts with foreign entities, as well as offering financial support to “foreign enemies”.

Other suspects were being sought, the government said at the time, while state-linked media labelled those arrested as traitors and “agents of embassies”.

Eight of the 17 detained activists, including five women, were later temporarily released“until the completion of their procedural review”.

None of the activists have yet been officially charged, and remain incommunicado with no access to their families or lawyers.