Prisoners of Conscience

A new trial session for April campaign’s prisoners of conscience

The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court is holding a new trial session for prisoners of conscience of the April campaign of last year today.

Human rights organizations and platforms have renewed their demand for the Saudi authorities to release all political detainees.

In the April 2019 arrest campaign, Saudi authorities arrested 16 writers on the grounds of their activism.

The campaign included both the writer Fahd Abu Al-Khail, Thamar Al-Marzouki, and the writer Khadija Al-Harbi, the wife of the detainee Thamar Al-Marzouki.

It also included: Ali Al-Saffar, Muhammad Al-Sadiq, Abdullah Al-Duhailan, Muqbel Al-Saqqar, Yazid Al-Fifi, Anas Al-Mazroua, in addition to Academician Badr Al-Ibrahimi.

The doctor, Sheikha Al-Arf, is with her husband, lawyer Abdullah Al-Shehri, activists Ayman Al-Drees, Salah Al-Haidar, Nayef Al-Mohandes, and Reda Al-Bouri.

It is reported that Salah Al-Haidar is the son of the recently released feminist activist Aziza Al-Youssef.

Al-Haidar holds, in addition to Badr Al-Ibrahim, dual American and Saudi nationalities, which is what American circles are calling for their release.

Khashoggi’s Assassination

The Washington Post commented that this is the first campaign of arrests targeting critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, in early October 2018.

These arrests come despite international outrage over the brutal killing of Khashoggi.

According to the newspaper, the arrested whose arrest campaign began on April 4, 2019, are not prominent activists.

The detainees are writers and lawyers who were calling for more social reforms, and they have links to the group of activists in the field of women’s rights who are currently detained.

Human Rights Violations

The Saudi authorities prevented dozens of activists from travelling in preparation for their arrest. At the same time, opponents indicated that some wanted activists managed to flee outside the country after learning of the start of the arrests campaign.

There is still no contact with others, and the number of wanted people on the authorities’ list has reached more than 40 names, and their pursuit continues.

The campaign came in April 2019, about two weeks after the authorities released female detainees. Aziza Al-Youssef, Eman Al-Nafjan, Ruqayya Al-Muhareb, as proceedings are underway for their trial on charges of communicating with external parties.

This campaign was preceded by a campaign of arrests, ordered by bin Salman, in September 2017, which included a number of scholars, writers and preachers, most notably within the “reform movement” in the Kingdom.

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