New Saudi sweep of arrests includes activists, 2 U.S. citizens – National

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Saudi Arabia detained 12 folks, together with two twin U.S.-Saudi residents, in a brand new spherical of arrests within the kingdom focusing on people supportive of ladies’s rights and people with ties to jailed activists, folks with information of the apprehensions stated Friday.


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It marks the primary sweep of arrests to focus on people perceived as critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman because the killing of author Jamal Khashoggi within the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October. The arrests come regardless of a worldwide outcry over Khashoggi’s grisly killing by Saudi brokers in an operation directed by former high aides to the crown prince.

The arrested people, practically all of whom have been detained on Thursday, should not seen as front-line activists. They’re writers and advocates who quietly supported higher social reforms and most had ties to the group of ladies’s rights activists at the moment on trial.

The Related Press spoke with 5 folks with information of the arrests, who all spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of retribution.

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These detained embrace a pregnant girl and 11 males, amongst them two U.S.-Saudi nationals: Badr al-Ibrahim, a author and doctor, and Salah al-Haidar, whose mom is outstanding ladies’s rights activist Aziza al-Yousef who was just lately quickly launched from jail.

Al-Haidar has a household house in Vienna, Virginia, and lives along with his spouse and baby in Saudi Arabia.

A 3rd U.S.-Saudi nationwide, Walid al-Fitaihi, stays imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since late 2017, when the crown prince detained greater than 100 businessmen, princes and officers in a purported anti-corruption sweep. Al-Fitaihi, whose household alleges that he’s been tortured in jail, labored as a doctor within the Boston space earlier than he returned in 2006 to his native Saudi Arabia, the place he helped discovered a hospital constructed by his household.


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Practically all of these detained Thursday have been taken from their houses within the capital, Riyadh. One particular person was arrested within the jap metropolis of Dammam.

The people weren’t lively politically on Twitter and weren’t broadly quoted in international media. The group loosely had ties to 1 one other, some as buddies and others by means of mental circles, together with with Saudi activists dwelling overseas.

These arrested embrace: Khadijah al-Harbi, a feminist author who’s pregnant; her husband Thumar al-Marzouqi, additionally a author; Mohammed al-Sadiq, Abdullah al-Dehailan, Naif al-Hendas, Ayman al-Drees, Abdullah al-Shehri and Moqbel al-Saqqar, all writers; and Fahad Abalkhail, an activist who supported the best of ladies to drive.

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Anas al-Mazroui, a lecturer at King Saud College was believed to have been detained final month. He was not recognized to be actively concerned in human rights work and seems to have been detained shortly after he merely talked about the names of among the detained ladies’s rights activists throughout a panel dialogue about human rights at a ebook honest in Saudi Arabia.

Individuals with information of their arrests stated the group is amongst no less than 13 folks positioned beneath journey bans since February.

In the meantime, the siblings of Loujain al-Hathloul, a feminine activist detained since Might, acknowledged on Twitter this week that they’re being pressured to stay silent about her arrest and her claims of torture. The siblings dwell exterior Saudi Arabia, however their father who resides in Saudi Arabia was beforehand briefly detained after tweeting about his daughter’s imprisonment.


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Al-Hathloul and Aziza al-Yousef are amongst practically a dozen ladies on trial for costs associated to their activism, which included campaigning for the best to drive earlier than the ban was lifted final yr and calling for an finish to guardianship legal guidelines that give males ultimate say over a lady’s proper to marry or journey overseas.

Al-Yousef, a grandmother and former college professor, was launched from jail final week together with two different ladies. Al-Hathloul and no less than 10 different ladies activists stay imprisoned.

The ladies — a few of whom have been held in solitary confinement for months — have advised the court docket they have been abused throughout interrogations, together with being waterboarded, caned, electrocuted, sexually assaulted and threatened with rape and loss of life.

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