Saudi Arabia's Crackdown On Women's Rights Activists Is Far From Over

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"Why am I considered as an enemy of the state that threatens its security?" one activist wrote in a post before getting arrested.

Saudi Arabia

Make no mistake: Saudi Arabia's crackdown against women's rights activists is far from over.

The ultraconservative Islamic kingdom sparked international outcry after detaining at least 17 activists in May. Eight people were temporarily released, according to a June 3 report by state news agency SPA.

However, as it turns out, the widespread criticism did little to deter more arrests.

A UK-based human rights group claims Saudi authorities arrested two more women's rights activists between June 6 and June 9.  

ALQST, which focuses on Saudi Arabia, reports Mayaa al-Zahrani was detained on June 9 after expressing support for Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jerawi, a fellow activist arrested on June 6, on social media.

 

Al Jazeera reports Al-Zahrani had also shared an article in which al-Jerawi had explained her role about helping oppressed women and helping them get in touch with lawyers and human rights groups.

"Why am I considered as an enemy of the state that threatens its security?" al-Jerawi wrote in a post.

"I can't stop my tears," read Mayaa al-Zahrani's post about Abdulaziz that landed her in prison, according to Al-Araby.

ALQST believes the latest arrests are part of the ongoing crackdown against women's rights activists.

"We believe the Saudi authorities are keen to suppress all activists, and all sympathy with them," the rights group said.

The raids were also confirmed by a second rights group called Pisoners of Conscience.

 

Most of the 17 activists who were arrested had campaigned for the lifting of the driving ban on women drivers — under the watch of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is often credited with introducing progressive reforms in the kingdom.

(Ironically, Saudi women will be taking the wheel for the first time on June 24.)

In addition to detaining the activists without providing details of their supposed offenses, Saudi authorities also denied them access to lawyers.

So far, only murky details are available as far as the reason of the arrests is concerned. State media claims the women had "suspicious contact with foreign parties" and many newspapers have even branded them as "traitors."

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: NurPhoto / Contributor/Getty Images

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