Amnesty Rebukes Saudi’s Prosecution of Women Rights Activists

saudi women activists, Amnesty

The 11 Saudi women activists jailed at the Dhahban Central Prison, Jeddah for more than a year, have been prosecuted by the Criminal Court, Riyadh for their ‘human rights work’ and ‘link with rights groups like, Amnesty International’. Amnesty has come forward in support of the activists; condemning the decision by Saudi Arabia and rubbishing incrimination of 11 women for their ‘peaceful activism’.

Samah Hadid, who is the Middle East Campaigns Director for Amnesty International, said “The charges against the activists are the latest example of the Saudi authorities abusing legislation and the justice system to silence peaceful activists and deter them from working on the human rights situation in the country. This trial is yet another stain on the Saudi authorities’ appalling human rights record, and shows how empty the government’s claims of reform really are.”

The activists currently serving their jail term at Dhahban, Jeddah include Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Iman al-Nafjan, Dr. Ruqayyah al-Mharib, Dr. Hatoon al-Fassi, Amal al-Harbi, Nouf Abdulziaz, Shadan al-Anezi, Maya’a al-Zahrani, Dr. Abir Namankni, along with another female activist.

Loujain is one of the arrestees who was jailed for advocating for women’s driving rights in Saudi Arabia. She has also been subject to ‘systematic torture’ during her time in jail, according to her brother, Walid alHathloul.

Out of the 11 women, some were charged with encouraging women rights in Saudi while also for demanding the abolishment of the male guardianship law. In addition to it, others were charged with maintaining contacts with international rights advocacy groups, NGOs, other activists, foreign media, and with Amnesty International, which is a London-based NGO.

The next trial sessions for the activists have been scheduled for 27th of March, 2019. Meanwhile, Amnesty states that peaceful activism and association with non-profit, human rights advocacy groups should not be considered a crime, but it is in a country like Saudi Arabia.

Despite global outrage continued for months against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the women activists continue to remain in judicial custody without any update on their health condition and safety communicated to their families and friends. What will be the fate of the women is still unsure, however, Saudi is expected to continue receiving backlash for its repression despite promises of reforms and progress made.

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