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Updated On: Thursday, 21 March 2019

UN calls on Saudi Arabia to release jailed human rights defenders, including women activists

Content by: UN News Centre

Since 15 May, at least 15 Government critics have been detained, Ravina Shamdasani, OHCHR Spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva.

“We understand that eight of them were later temporarily released until the completion of their procedural review,” Ms.

Shamdasani said, noting that in some cases, “their whereabouts are unknown and there is a serious lack of transparency” in processing their cases.

In mid-May, a crackdown on prominent women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia seems to have kicked off a spate of arrests. In June, after an official visit, Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on anti-terrorism, painted a damning picture of a country which he said was using anti-terror laws to systematically justify torture, suppress dissent and imprison human rights defenders.

“While the authorities have made statements about possible serious charges, that could lead to prison terms of up to 20 years, it is unclear whether charges have been laid in any of these cases,” Ms. Shamdasani continued.


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