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Saudi women right activists on trial

14-3-2019

Saudi authorities began yesterday the trial of 10 female activists for women’s rights in the wake of the arrest last May of a group of them on charges of supporting hostile elements systematically undermining the Kingdom’s stability and social security and national unity. Commenting on the trial, Amnesty International campaign director for the Middle East Program, Samah Hadid, said Saudi authorities are now bringing charges against the activists after spending almost a year in prison without access to lawyers and under continuous torture and sexual harassment. Saudi Arabia is dealing with the advocacy of women’s rights as a crime, which constitutes a serious escalation in the Arab Gulf country. For his part, Human Rights Watch researcher, Adam Koegel, described the trial and “allegations of ill-treatment” of women prisoners as another indication to the escalating repression by Saudi authorities. He called on KSA to immediately halt all unfair procedures and release any accused activist detained for involvement in peaceful protest action only. On the other hand, a tweet by US Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar which described the Saudi authorities as the worst encroachers and violators of human rights, has sparked mixed reactions. One Twitter user posted a picture of Omar with the Turkish President Erdoghan to remind her of supportive stand to Turkey. (Al Akhbar, Al Diyar, March 14, 2019)

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