Middle East Saudi Arabia

Latest Saudi Arrests: Activists, Judges Are Targeted

Riyadh (MEE– Saudi Arabia detains members of the judiciary and prominent human rights activists in latest wave of arrests.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested leading activists and several members of the judiciary as the kingdom continues its crackdown on dissent.

Local sources said that at least eight men were detained on Monday, among them a mix of religious figures, political thinkers, and popular social media personalities.

Abdulaziz al-Shubaily and Issa al-Hamid, who are both founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), were detained at the weekend.

Related: UK Labour Party Bars Saudi Arabia From Its Conference Over War Crimes

Judges Arrested

The activist-led Twitter account “Prisoners of Conscience” said that Monday’s arrests included six criminal court judges and two justice ministry officials.

The account also alleged that forensic researcher Musa al-Ghannami, who is known for attacking militant groups on social media, had also been detained.

His high-profile TV show often focuses on the crimes of Islamic State and the group’s incompatibility with Islamic teachings and values.

Related: Saudi Arabia: 14 Shia At Risk Of Imminent Execution

‘Dark time’

Last week, more than 20 individuals, including prominent religious clerics Salman al-Odah and Awad al-Qarni, were detained within 24 hours.

Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the son of Saudi Arabia’s former King Fahad, was also arrested.

Amnesty International has said the arrests are targeting “the last vestiges of freedom of expression in the kingdom”.

Samah Hadid, the group’s director of campaigns for the Middle East, said in a statement that “this is a dark time for freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia. Issa al-Hamid and Abdulaziz al-Shubaily are prisoners of conscience, the Saudi Arabian authorities must release them immediately and unconditionally.

“Saudi Arabia’s embattled human rights community has already suffered heavily at the hands of the authorities, and now with these latest arrests almost all the country’s most prominent human rights defenders are now in prison on bogus terrorism-related charges,” Hadid added.

Saudi Security Forces
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Saudi authorities have rounded up some 30 clerics, intellectuals, and academics this month in what Human Rights Watch has described as “a coordinated crackdown on dissent”.

This post was originally written for and published by Middle East Eye.