Saudi Arabia: release of women's rights advocates


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June 24 marked the passing of one year since Dr. Hatoon Al-Fassi, an associate professor of women’s history along with 9 other prominent women’s rights activists who worked to overturn the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia, were wrongfully arrested and detained. Dr. Al-Fassi and other women were subject to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment without access to lawyers. On March 13, 2019, Dr. Al-Fassi and nine other women’s rights activists appeared at a closed-door trial for the first time since their arrest. Informal reports indicate that Dr. Al-Fassi and the other women activists were tried on bogus charges of allegedly communicating with international organizations and foreign media and promoting women’s rights. Dr.Al-Fassi and three other women’s rights activists were temporarily released on On May 2. However, wrongful charges against them and other women not yet released remain. Women Living Under Muslim Laws calls upon Saudi authorities to drop any charges against Dr. Al-Fassi and all other women’s rights activists who have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression and launch an independent investigation inconsistent with international law, into allegations of torture and inhuman treatment they were subjected to. We also call upon the Saudi Arabian government to stop its arbitrary arrest and harassment of women’s rights advocates.