Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today.
In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech.
“Today marks a year of shame for Saudi Arabia. A year ago, the authorities started locking up some of Saudi Arabia’s bravest women activists, instead of celebrating hand in hand steps that should have served to advance the rights of women in the country,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.
“Then they went on to detain those who still dared to stand up for these women, advocate for women’s rights in the country, or even express any questioning of the authorities’ policies.”
Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, Saudi Arabia’s leading women’s rights campaigners, were detained on 15 May 2018 and have been facing trial for their human rights work since March 2019.
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