Saudis arrest another women's right activist

The arrest of Hatoon al-Fassi is part of Riyadh's crackdown on activists in the kingdom.

    Saudi Arabia has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women [File: Fahad Shadeed/Reuters]
    Saudi Arabia has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women [File: Fahad Shadeed/Reuters]

    Saudi Arabia has arrested Hatoon al-Fassi, a Saudi women's rights activist and writer, as part of its crackdown on activists in the kingdom, a human rights group said.

    ALQST, a UK-based rights group focusing on Saudi Arabia, confirmed to Al Jazeera on Wednesday al-Fassi's arrest.

    Considered a leading figure in women's rights in the region, and the kingdom, in particular, al-Fassi has long been fighting for the rights of Saudi women, including their right to participate in municipal elections.

    As a scholar, her work focuses on women's history and politics.

    Al-Fassi was among the first Saudi women to drive for the first time since the religiously conservative country overturned the world's only ban on female drivers.

    Last month, the government announced that a number of activists were being held for having suspicious contacts with foreign entities, as well as offering financial support to "foreign enemies".

    Other suspects were being sought, the government said at the time, while state-linked media labelled those arrested as traitors and "agents of embassies".

    Eight of the 17 detained activists, including five women, were later temporarily released "until the completion of their procedural review".

    None of the activists has yet been officially charged, and they are being held incommunicado - with no access to their families or lawyers.

    Earlier on Wednesday, United Nations experts urged Saudi Arabia to immediately release a number of women's human rights defenders arrested in the nationwide crackdown.

    "In stark contrast with this celebrated moment of liberation for Saudi women, women's human rights defenders have been arrested and detained on a wide scale across the country, which is truly worrying and perhaps a better indication of the Government's approach to women's human rights," they said in a statement.

    "We call for the urgent release of all of those detained while pursuing their legitimate activities in the promotion and protection of women's rights in Saudi Arabia."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.