According to a women’s rights organization, Saudi Arabia has freed two renowned women’s rights campaigners who had been detained for almost three years.
According to a women’s rights organization, Saudi Arabia has freed two renowned women’s rights campaigners who had been detained for almost three years. “Human rights defenders Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah have been released following the expiry of the sentences against them,” ALQST for Human Rights said in a tweet on Sunday.
The activists were detained in August 2018 as part of a government crackdown on nonviolent protest at the time.
The majority of those detained, numbering in the hundreds, advocated for the freedom to drive and an end to the kingdom’s male guardianship system, which compels women to get the permission of a male relative before making significant choices.
Badawi won the International Women of Courage Award from the United States in 2012 for her efforts to reform the guardianship system, and she was one of the first women to sign a petition urging the government to allow women to drive, vote, and run for municipal office.
She is also Raif Badawi’s sister, a renowned human rights activist who was convicted to ten years in jail in 2014 for “insulting Islam” on his blog.
Al-Sadah, a Shia from the restive region of Qatif, has also advocated for the freedom to drive and the abolition of the guardianship system. She ran in the 2015 municipal elections, which were the first in which women ran for office.
Authorities eventually took her name off the list.
Eman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Aisha al-Manea, Ibrahim Modeimigh, and Mohammed al-Rabea are among the women’s rights activists imprisoned in 2018.
Saudi officials rationalized the arrests by claiming the campaigners had suspicious connections with foreign organizations and offered financial assistance to the “enemy overseas,” despite the fact that the decades-old ban on women driving had been lifted.