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Ongoing Repression, Absence of Civil Society Impede Progress

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia recently announced a series of important and necessary reforms, but ongoing repression and a lack of respect for basic rights are major barriers to progress, Human Rights Watch said today. The repression of independent civil…
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a large billboard in London, England.
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Disparaging References to Shia, Sufi Practices Remain Despite Progress

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has taken important steps to purge its school religion textbooks of hateful and intolerant language, but the current texts maintain language that disparages practices associated with religious minorities, Human Rights Watch…
Then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air College in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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Loujain al-Hathloul Banned from Travel, Faces Suspended Sentence

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities released from prison the prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul on February 10, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. However, she is banned from travel and has a suspended sentence, which allows the…
Loujain al-Hathloul
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Charges Relate Solely to Peaceful Women’s Rights Activism

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities are rushing through the closed trial of the prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, Human Rights Watch said today. Prosecutors originally charged al-Hathloul, 31, in March 2019 with offenses related…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
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6-Year Sentence for Political Views, Criticism

(Washington, DC) – A Saudi court sentenced a prominent Saudi-American medical doctor to six years in prison on December 8, 2020 on vague charges mostly tied to his peaceful political views and expression, Human Rights Watch and The Freedom Initiative…
Walid al-Fitaihi, with his daughter Mariam, whom Saudi authorities have placed under a travel ban since 2017.
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Safety Concerns for Activists, Ex-Crown Prince, Cleric

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has denied some prominent detainees contact with their family members and lawyers for months, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter requesting access to the country and private prison visits with detainees. The situation…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
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Convicted for Criticizing Government Abuses

(Beirut) – A leading Saudi human rights figure has died after suffering a stroke on April 9, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Abdullah al-Hamid, 69, spent the final seven years of his life in prison following his conviction in March…
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Positive Reforms for Women Tainted by Ongoing Arrests of Activists, Dissidents

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities carried out a sweeping campaign of repression against independent dissidents and activists, including two waves of mass arrests, in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The arrests and…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
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Trump Administration Should Speak Out on Walid Fitaihi’s Case

(Washington, DC) – Saudi authorities should drop politicized charges against a Saudi-American medical doctor and former host of a popular wellness show, Human Rights Watch and The Freedom Initiative said today. Dr. Walid Fitaihi,…
Walid al-Fitaihi, with his daughter Mariam, whom Saudi authorities have placed under a travel ban since 2017.
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Arrests, Torture, Murder Accompany Reforms

(Washington, DC) – Important social reforms enacted under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been accompanied by deepening repression and abusive practices meant to silence dissidents and critics, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
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Reform Intelligence Services; Free Dissidents; End Abuses

(Beirut) – Following the Saudi government’s belated admission of responsibility for the October 2, 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it should move promptly to provide justice for its role in the crime and release jailed government…
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
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Criticized ‘Extremism’ in School Curriculum

(Beirut) – Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against a Saudi religious reformist thinker on a host of vague charges relating to his peaceful religious ideas, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities arrested Hassan…
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Court Holds Government Failed to Consider Violations in Yemen

(London) – The Court of Appeal in London ruled on June 20, 2019 that the United Kingdom government’s refusal to consider Saudi Arabia’s laws-of-war violations in Yemen before licensing arms sales was unlawful, Human Rights Watch said…
Destruction at the location of an air strike at Radfan Ceramics Factory, west of Sanaa, Yemen, on September 23, 2015.
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17 Organizations Denounce Threats to Prosecute Journalists Investigating French Arms Sales

(Paris) – Seventeen humanitarian and human rights organizations denounced threats to press freedom after three French journalists were summoned by French intelligence services for investigating the presence of French weapons in the conflict in Yemen,…
People are seen near a bus destroyed by an airstrike that killed dozens of children, in a photograph taken on August 12, 2018 in Saada, Yemen.
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Alleged Forced Confession for Supporting Protests

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities are seeking to lengthen the prison sentence of a cleric known for supporting protests against the systematic discrimination of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Sheikh Mohammad Hassan al-Habib
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Local Inquiries Lack Independence, Credibility

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should immediately allow independent international monitors to enter Saudi Arabia and meet with detainees, including those who have alleged torture, Human Rights Watch said today. The detainees should…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
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Would Have Credibility, Authority to Gather Facts from Saudis

  (New York) – Turkey should formally submit a request to the UN secretary-general to establish an international, independent investigation into Saudi Arabia’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Human Rights Watch said…
 Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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French Arms Sales to Coalition Raise Complicity Concerns

(Paris) – President Emmanuel Macron of France should raise serious concerns with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince regarding laws-of-war violations in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan of the United Arab…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Faj Attan, a densely populated neighborhood in Sanaa, on August 25, 2017. Two of the buildings were completely destroyed and the third suffered extensive damage. Saudi-led coalition aircraft
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Alleged Electric Shocks, Whippings by Masked Interrogators

(Beirut) – Informed sources say that Saudi interrogators tortured at least three of the Saudi women activists detained beginning in May 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The reports allege that torture by Saudi authorities included…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
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Press Visiting Junta Leader to Fulfill Promises on Rights, Democracy

(London) – UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron should press Thailand’s junta leader to respect human rights and ensure a rapid transition to democratic civilian rule, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Gen…
A Pro-democracy activist holds a fan during protest against junta near Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun