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Women activists face prison sentences

AI Netherlands Saudi Arabian Embassy Action

11 Saudi women activists on trial before the Criminal Court in Riyadh risk being sentenced to prison terms on charges related to their activism. Many of them have campaigned against the long-standing ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, and the end of the male guardianship system. While seven of the activists were temporarily and conditionally released, four others remain in detention. The 11 women remain at risk of receiving prison sentences.


On 28 March 2019, women activists Aziza al-Yousef, Iman al-Nafjan and Dr Ruqayyah al-Muharib, who are part of a group of 11 women activists on trial, were temporarily and conditionally released. On 2 May, Amal al-Harbi, Dr Hatoon al-Fassi, Dr Abir al-Namankani and Maysaa al-Mane’a were also temporarily and conditionally released. Maya’a al-Zahrani, Nouf Abdulaziz, Shadan al-Anezi and Loujain al-Hathloul remain detained.

The 11 Saudi women activists have been detained since May 2018, following a sweeping wave of arrests targeting human rights activists. Many of the women activists brought to trial have campaigned against the long-standing ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, and for the end of the male guardianship system.

Since May 2018, at least 15 activists have been detained without charges in Saudi Arabia. On 19 May, the Saudi Press Agency reported that seven individuals had been arrested for their “suspicious contact with foreign entities”, “recruiting people working in sensitive government positions”, and “providing financial support to hostile entities abroad with the aim of undermining the security and stability of the Kingdom and shaking the country’s social fabric”. Among those targeted are prominent women human rights defenders Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef

In November 2018, reports emerged that several activists, including several women arbitrarily detained since May 2018, were reportedly tortured, subjected to sexual violence and otherwise ill-treated during the first three months of their detention. (See Press Release: Saudi Arabia: Reports of torture and sexual harassment of detained activist).


PLEASE TAKE ACTION until 8 January 2020

Please write using your own words or the template letter provided in the attached documents, in Arabic, English, or your own language, to the listed address as soon as possible: 

His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques

Office of His Majesty the King

Royal Court, Riyadh

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: +966 11 403 3125

Twitter: @KingSalman


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