Human Rights Activists Being Prosecuted in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an appalling record when it comes to human rights violations. The Saudi government has carried out a number of acts that are in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Anyone who criticizes the government is detained by the authorities. In fact, a human rights report states that so far in 2017 the government has stepped up its efforts in persecuting activists that call for greater freedom of rights in the country.

Report of Prosecution of HR Activists in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom has signed the Arab Charter on Human Rights that guarantees the right of freedom of expression and opinion of the individuals. However, the government’s actions speak volumes about its gross hypocrisy.

According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), two human rights activists were sentenced in January this year to long prison sentences without any charge.  In addition, two other people are currently under investigation and are in detention.

The human rights report had revealed that these four people were arrested after being accused of being in touch with international right and media organizations. The report had found a pattern of repression against peaceful dissidents and advocates. The Saudi government was said to be involved in the activities of intimidation, harassment, detention, travel bans, smear campaigns, and prosecution.

Moreover, the human rights reports had said that in the past five years, the Saudi regime has arrested at least 20 prominent activists who had spoken against repressive stance on women and capital punishment.

In 2012, Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. The crime? He dared to use his blog posts to criticize the clerics in Saudi Arabia. In the same year, a boy of 17 named Dawood al-Marhoon was arrested for taking part in a protest against the regime, and sentenced to death.

Again, in 2014, the government had sentenced three lawyers to up to eight years in prison. They were handed over the prison sentence for criticizing the Ministry of Justice using their personal Twitter account.  

People who defy the conservative laws of the country are charged with offenses that are not recognized as a crime internationally. The individuals have been charged with such offenses as ‘participating in the protests’ and ‘breaking allegiance to the ruler’.

According to Sarah Lee Whitson, the Middle East director of the Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabian government prosecutes and detains anyone that dares to express independent views on religion, politics, and rights of humans. She says that having contact with an international human rights organization or media is not a crime. The government needs to end its barbaric actions otherwise, it will continue to be reprimanded and chastised by the international community for crime against humanity.