Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Saudi Arabia

    January 16, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Responding to the announcement that the Saudi Arabian human rights organization Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Dutch human rights award, the Geuzenpenning, Amnesty International Netherlands director Dagmar Oudshoorn said:

    “This award recognizes the important work done by ACPRA members like Mohammed al-Qahtani, Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Bajadi who have been in jail for years. This is a strong call from the Netherlands to release all of ACPRA's founders and members from prison.”

    “While Saudi Arabia has recently invested in expensive PR campaigns to improve its image, the continued detention of ACPRA members is one of the most telling examples of the true face of the Saudi authorities and its appalling human rights record.”

    “This prestigious award is a reminder for the Dutch government and others to do everything within their power to ensure the release of all imprisoned human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia.”

    January 13, 2020

    The global C20 civil society forum hosted this year by Saudi Arabia is a farcical attempt by the new G20 hosts to whitewash their dire human rights record, Amnesty International said.

    The organization has released a joint statement, along with Transparency International and Civicus, explaining why it will not be engaging in this year’s C20 process, a cycle of preparatory meetings leading up to the annual G20 summit, which started yesterday with a three-day “kick-off meeting”.

    December 23, 2019

    Responding to a Saudi Arabian court’s sentencing of five people to death and three others to prison for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “This verdict is a whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones. The trial has been closed to the public and to independent monitors, with no information available as to how the investigation was carried out.

    “The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains.

    “Saudi Arabia’s courts routinely deny defendants access to lawyers and condemn people to death following grossly unfair trials. Given the lack of transparency from the Saudi authorities, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, only an international, independent and impartial investigation can serve justice for Jamal Khashoggi.”

    Background

    December 06, 2019

    Amnesty International has received credible reports that Saudi Arabian prison authorities arbitrarily placed human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Waleed Abu al-Khair in solitary confinement and under tightened security. Waleed was placed in solitary confinement in Dhahban Prison near Jeddah on 26 November and for the past week, has been held incommunicado, putting him at heightened risk of torture and other ill-treatment. He has been on hunger strike since 29 November in protest against his ill-treatment. Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The fact that Waleed Abu al-Khair is in prison to begin with, let alone serving a 15-year prison sentence, is outrageous. He was imprisoned under bogus terrorism-related charges simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and defending human rights. He is one amongst scores of Saudi women and men being punished for standing up for their fellow citizens’ rights.

    November 29, 2019

    Spokespersons are available for interviews

    World leaders must address the Kingdom’s heinous human rights record as Saudi Arabia assumes the presidency of the G20 global economic forum, said Amnesty International today. Saudi Arabia is set to assume the presidency of the G20 on 1 December and next year’s G20 summit will be held in Riyadh.

    The organization urges G20 members, to pressure the Saudi Arabian authorities to commit to end the patterns of egregious human rights violations. Member states of the G20 that continue to profit from the arms trade with Saudi Arabia, including the USA, UK and France, must consider the extent to which they are complicit in human rights violations committed by the Saudi Arabia led coalition in the conflict in Yemen, and cease such transfers until these violations have been remedied.  

    November 13, 2019

    Responding to an official announcement and a promotional video published by Saudi Arabia’s state security agency which categorizes feminism, homosexuality and atheism as ‘extremist ideas’, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said:

    “The Saudi state security agency’s announcement which labels feminism, atheism and homosexuality as extremist ideas punishable by jail and flogging is outrageous - clearly contradicting the Kingdom’s bogus reformist image which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues to flaunt internationally.

    “Feminism, atheism and homosexuality are not criminal acts. This announcement is extremely dangerous and has serious implications for the rights to freedom of expression and life, liberty and security in the country. It peels away the veneer of progress under Mohammed bin Salman and reveals the Kingdom’s true intolerant face which criminalizes people’s identities, as well as progressive and reformist thoughts and ideas at home.

    September 30, 2019

    Spokespeople available for interviews

    One year since the extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi citizens are honouring Khashoggi’s legacy by pursuing the fight for their inalienable right to freely express themselves, despite the authorities’ continuing crackdown and the absence of any meaningful signal to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, Amnesty International said today.

    “Any talk of assuming responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing is meaningless if not met with the immediate and unconditional release of dozens of individuals who continue to languish in prison, and who continue to be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, solely for having expressed their opinion in a peaceful manner,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    August 02, 2019

    Saudi Arabia must follow up on crucial reforms announced today to address women’s rights by ending its persecution of women’s rights defenders and immediately and unconditionally releasing those who are currently detained for their peaceful activism, said Amnesty International.

    Saudi Arabian newspapers announced major reforms to several laws easing some of the major restrictions which are imposed on women as part of the country’s repressive male guardianship system. The reforms will allow women the right to obtain a passport that should make it possible for them to travel without the permission of a male guardian. They also give women equal rights to lead household and some family-related matters.

    “The reforms announced today are a significant but long overdue step forward for women’s rights. These changes are a clear testament to the tireless campaigning of women’s rights activists who have battled against rampant discrimination in Saudi Arabia for decades,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. 

    July 25, 2019

    Following the Saudi Public Prosecutor’s call to execute the prominent religious reformist cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awda, and ahead of his trial set to take place at the anti-terror court known as Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) on 28 July 2019, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director said:

    “We are gravely concerned that Sheikh Salman al-Awda could be sentenced to death and executed. Since his arrest almost two years ago, Sheikh al-Awda has gone through a terrible ordeal including prolonged pre-trial detention, months of solitary confinement, incommunicado detention, and other ill-treatment – all flagrant violations to his right to a fair trial.

    “The Saudi authorities continue to claim that they are fighting ‘terrorism’ when this trial, as well as those of other activists, including the 37 men who were executed last April, are clearly politically-motivated and meant to silence independent voices in the country.

    June 19, 2019

    Responding to the release of the UN report on the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which concludes that he was the victim of “an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under human rights law,” and that “there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s,” Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, said:

    “We call on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to immediately take up the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation to launch an international follow-up criminal investigation. The UN report confirms that the steps taken to date by Saudi Arabia to ensure accountability are not only inadequate, but violate themselves human rights standards, both procedurally and substantively. 

    June 17, 2019

    Responding to the news that Murtaja Qureiris, the young man from Saudi Arabia arrested at the age of 13, will not face execution and has been sentenced to 12 years in prison instead, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said:

    “The news that Murtaja Qureiris will not face execution is a huge relief for him and his family, but it is utterly outrageous that the Saudi Arabian authorities were seeking the death penalty for someone arrested under the age of 13 in the first place. Use of the death penalty against people under 18 at the time of the crime is a flagrant violation of international law.

    “While the Saudi authorities have spared Murtaja Qureiris’ life in this case, the law in Saudi Arabia still allows people arrested for crimes committed when they were children to be sentenced to death where the crimes are punishable by death under Shari’a (Islamic law).

    June 07, 2019

    Saudi Arabia must not use the death penalty to punish a young man who was arrested at the age of 13 for participating in anti-government protests, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization has confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution sought the death penalty for Murtaja Qureiris in August 2018 for a series of offences, some of which date back to when he was just 10 years old. CNN this week revealed he was facing the death penalty and published video footage showing him participating in bike protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as a young boy in 2011.

    “There should be no doubt that the Saudi Arabian authorities are ready to go to any length to crack down on dissent against their own citizens, including by resorting to the death penalty for men who were merely boys at the time of their arrest,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf.

    “It is appalling that Murtaja Qureiris is facing execution for offences that include taking part in protests while he was just 10 years old.”

    May 16, 2019

    This graphic depicts (left to right) Samar Badawi, Iman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Youssef and Nassima al-Sada

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 105/18 HERE

    Eleven Saudi women activists on trial before the Criminal Court in Riyadh risk being sentenced to prison terms on charges related to their women’s rights activism. Many of them have campaigned against the long-standing ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, and the end of the male guardianship system. While seven women activists were temporarily and conditionally released, four others remain in detention. The 11 women remain at risk of being sentenced to prison.

    May 14, 2019

    Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today.

    In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech.  

    May 13, 2019

    Reacting to the onward voyage of the Saudi Arabian state shipping company’s vessel, the Bahri Yanbu, from the Spanish port of Santander this afternoon, Ara Marcen Naval, Deputy Director for Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Laden with arms that will likely be used in the war in Yemen, the Bahri Yanbu has been bouncing off European ports like a pinball. After loading up with Belgian munitions in Antwerp, it has visited or attempted to visit ports in the UK, France and now Spain, and is due to dock at the Italian port of Genoa later this week. 

    “This is a serious test of EU countries’ resolve to uphold their obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and EU Common Position on Arms Exports. Several states have failed this test in the space of just a few days.

    “No EU state should be making the deadly decision to authorize the transfer or transit of arms to a conflict where there is a clear risk they will be used in war crimes and other serious violations of international law.

    Pages

    Subscribe to Saudi Arabia
    rights