Prisoners of Conscience

Activist arrested after incitement campaign

The Gulf Center for Human Rights said today that it has received reports of the arbitrary arrest of activist Amani Al-Zain, based on direct orders issued by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Center stated that Al-Zain is still being held in an unknown location since her arrest in Jeddah.

He noted that the Presidency of State Security, a relatively new agency created by order of King Abdullah on July 20, 2017, includes all security forces. The Presidency of State Security is directly related to the king himself.

An old recording of a conversation between her and Egyptian activist Wael Ghoneim, has spread widely on social networks where Al-Zain described the crown prince with a nickname, “Abu Munshar”, in reference to issuing an order to kill the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and cut his body in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 02 October 2020.

During the video of the conversation, originally published on October 15, 2019, the two are joking about freedom of expression in the Kingdom.

Amani Al-Zain uses her Twitter account, which she tweeted for the last time on May 16, 2020, to express her different opinions and was opposed to the arrests and killings by the authorities of a large number of human rights defenders, including journalists and internet activists.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights called for the immediate release of Amani Al-Zain and all detainees in violation of their right to freedom of expression, including women’s rights defenders.

The Human Rights Center warned that more than 20 women human rights defenders and their supporters are still in prison since the start of a crackdown in May 2019 that occurred shortly before the ban on women driving in the Kingdom was lifted on June 24, 2020. Many of those arrested were also Defamation campaigns by government supporters online. Most human rights defenders in the kingdom have been imprisoned for long periods or forced to live in exile.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights called on the Saudi authorities to stop criminalizing the other opinion and respect its international obligations as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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