The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Saudi Arabia arrests 8 rights advocates in new crackdown Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Saudi Arabia arrests 8 rights advocates in new crackdown

The arrests come despite outcry over the alleged torture of women currently on trial [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2019

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Saudi Arabia detained eight people, including two dual US-Saudi citizens, in a new round of arrests targeting individuals supportive of women's rights.
Saudi Arabia detained eight people, including two dual US-Saudi citizens, in a new round of arrests targeting individuals supportive of women's rights.

A person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, with knowledge of the arrests told The Associated Press about the latest crackdown on Friday.

The arrested individuals, nearly all of whom were detained on Thursday, are not front-line activists but quietly supported greater social reforms and most had ties to a group of women's rights activists currently on trial.

Those detained include a pregnant woman and seven men, among them two US-Saudi nationals: Badr al-Ibrahim, a writer and physician, and Salah al-Haidar, whose mother is prominent women's rights activist Aziza al-Yousef who was recently temporarily released from prison.

Nearly all of those detained Thursday were taken from their homes in the capital, Riyadh, while one was arrested in the eastern city of Dammam, according to the source.

The arrested were not active politically on Twitter and were not widely quoted in foreign media.

The group loosely had ties to one another, some as friends and others through intellectual circles, including with Saudi activists living abroad.

Those arrested include: Khadijah al-Harbi, a feminist writer who is pregnant; her husband Thumar al-Marzouqi, also a writer; Mohammed al-Sadiq and Abdullah al-Dehailan, both writers; and Fahad Abalkhail, an activist who supported the right of women to drive.

This move marks the first sweep of arrests to target people perceived as critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.

Amnesty International's Middle East Director of Research Lynn Maalouf has condemned the latest arrests.

"In their continuing crackdown, it is no coincidence that the Saudi Arabian authorities are shamelessly targeting those citizens who are part and parcel of the society's vibrant intellectual, artistic, activist landscape," Maalouf said.

"By targeting them, they are signaling to their entire people that there will be zero tolerance of any form of criticism, let alone questioning, of the state's authoritarian practices," She added.

The arrests come despite global outcry over Khashoggi's grisly killing by Saudi agents and alleged torture of women currently on trial for charges related to their activism, which included campaigning for the right to drive.

The women - some of whom have been held in solitary confinement for months - have told the court they were abused during interrogations, including being waterboarded, caned, electrocuted, sexually assaulted and threatened with rape and death.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More