The prosecution of 11 women activists before a Criminal Court in Riyadh for their human rights work and contact with international organizations is an appalling escalation of the Saudi authorities’ crackdown on peaceful activism, Amnesty International said today.
Some of the women were charged with promoting women’s rights and calling for the end of the male guardianship system. The women were also charged with contacting international organisations, foreign media and other activists, including their contact with Amnesty International
“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,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director.
“Activists brought to trial today are amongst Saudi Arabia’s bravest women human rights defenders. They have not only been smeared in state-aligned media for their peaceful human rights work, but have also endured horrendous physical and psychological suffering during their detention. We urge the Saudi authorities to drop these outrageous charges and release the women activists immediately and unconditionally,”