UN human rights expert calls on Saudi Arabia to free women activists

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News ID: 46878
Publish Date: 18:33 - 10 July 2020
Friday, 10 July 2020_A United Nations special rapporteur has called on the member states of the UN Human Rights Council to pressure Saudi Arabia to free women activists, four months before the Arab kingdom is to hold the 2020 G20 Riyadh summit.

UN human rights expert calls on Saudi Arabia to free women activistsAgnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made the call during a speech to the council in Geneva on Thursday.

The Saudi regime should release “prisoners of conscience, women, human rights defenders that are currently in prison for demanding the right to drive,” she said.

Saudi authorities put at least a dozen prominent women’s activists behind bars in 2018 as the regime lifted a ban on women driving cars, a step that most of the detainees had long campaigned for.   

These activists were arrested as part of a broader plan of crackdown on dissent that extended to even clerics and intellectuals.

According to Reuters, several of the arrested women have already said that they had gone through torture and been the victim of sexual assault in detention.

Saudi officials, however, reject the allegations, claiming that the detainees were suspected of having damaged Saudi interests and allegedly offered support to what they described as hostile elements abroad.

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