The Saudi ladies’s rights activists who stay behind bars | Human Rights Information
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from prison on Wednesday, but several others remain in detention.
Human rights groups have welcomed the release of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul from prison, but several other activists remain behind bars in Saudi Arabia.
In the past three years, Saudi Arabia has arrested hundreds of people it considers dissenters – including activists like al-Hathloul – but it has begun provisional release under pressure from the new administration in the United States stands.
The detentions take a look at the human rights record of the kingdom, an absolute monarchy that was also heavily criticized for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a team of Saudi agents at its consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Al-Hathloul was one of at least a dozen women’s rights activists detained in Saudi Arabia in 2018. Three of them are supposed to stay in prison:
Women’s rights activist Samar Badawi was arrested in 2018 on charges of her human rights activism.
Badawi is best known for her legal battle with her abusive father, who filed a lawsuit against her after she sought refuge in a women’s shelter in 2008.
She has advocated the abolition of the male guardianship system, which among other things gives male carers the right to prevent their daughters from marrying, studying or traveling without prior consent.
Badawi is the sister of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012 for criticizing officials.
She was arrested with Nassima al-Sadah, a women’s rights activist from the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.
Nassima al-Sadah is a columnist and human rights activist who campaigned for civil and political rights and the right of women to drive.
According to Amnesty International, she was banned from voting in local elections in 2015. Before she was arrested, she was also banned from traveling.
She wrote a column for the Saudi online newspaper Juhaina addressing Saudi citizenship laws, women’s political participation and violence against women.
The Saudi authorities arrested al-Sadah in 2018 as part of a crackdown on activists and bloggers who opposed the driving ban for women.
Mayaa al-Zahrani was arrested in 2018 for posting on social media in support of Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jerawi, a fellow activist who was arrested after security forces ransacked her home.
Al-Zahrani had published an article by al-Jerawi in which she clarified her role as a volunteer in support of the oppressed by bringing them into contact with lawyers and human rights groups.
“Why am I seen as an enemy of the state threatening its security?” al-Jerawi wrote in a widely circulated post.
ALQST, a UK-based rights group focused on Saudi Arabia, described the two women’s detention as part of the “ongoing arrest of activists”.
“We believe that the Saudi authorities want to suppress all activists and all sympathies for them,” said the right-wing group.
In December, al-Zahrani was imprisoned for nearly six years by the kingdom’s “anti-terrorism” court.