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New Human Rights Watch Campaign Against Whitewashing Rights Violations

(Beirut) – The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator, Human Rights Watch said today.…
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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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Palestinians, Jordanians Face Vague Charges, Allege Torture

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s mass trial of 68 Jordanian and Palestinian residents raises serious due process concerns amid accusations of abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. In March 2018, Saudi authorities carried out a wave of arrests…
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Previous Campaign Marred by Lack of Due Process, Torture Allegations

  (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s new mass arrest of 298 government employees on suspicion of corruption raises human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi…
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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Trafficking, Exploitation, Torture, Abusive Prison Conditions

(Addis Ababa) – Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison…
African migrants receive food and water inside a football stadium in the Red Sea port city of Aden in Yemen, on April 23, 2019. © AFP/Getty Images
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As the G20 Summit approaches and world leaders get ready to meet in Buenos Aires on Friday, a cloud of suspicion looms over Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. His visit to Argentina was supposed to help him rebuild his shattered…
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Use of Martial Law Raises Fears of Mistreatment

(New York) – Thai authorities should release or charge with a credible offense an ethnic Malay Muslim human rights activist who has been detained in the deep south, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities arrested Burhan Buraheng of the human rights…
Human rights activist Burhan Buraheng has been arbitrarily detained without charge in a military camp in Thailand’s Pattani province since August 1, 2018.
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Criminalizes Criticisms of King and Crown Prince as Terrorism Offense

(New York) – Saudi Arabia’s new counterterrorism law includes vague and overly broad definitions of acts of terrorism, in some cases punishable by death, Human Rights Watch said today. The law replaces a widely criticized…
Saudi King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attend a graduation ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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Resolve ‘Disappearances’, Grant Access to Detention Sites

(Beirut) – The UAE supports Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations, Human Rights Watch said today. The UAE finances, arms, and trains these forces, which…
Hadrami elite forces guard Mukalla from Al-Qaeda by creating check-points.
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Ill-Treatment, Unfair Trial for Those Sought by Turkey Over Alleged Gulenist Links

(New York) – Burmese authorities have forced back Turkish asylum seeker, Muhammet Furkan Sökmen via Thailand, putting him at risk of serious human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 24, 2017, Burmese officials…
Burma/Thailand: Deported Turkish Man at Risk PHOTO
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On March 4, President Francois Hollande awarded the Legion of Honor, once considered France’s most prestigious award, to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef for “countering extremism and fighting terrorism,” according to the Saudi Press Agency. …
French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef of Saudi Arabia at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 4, 2016.
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Prominent Shia Cleric Among 47 Executed

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities carried out the largest mass execution in the country since 1980, putting 47 men to death on January 2, 2016. According to the Saudi state news agency, all of the men were convicted on terrorism charges, and most were members…
A girl carries a picture of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed along with 46 others in Saudi Arabia, during a protest against the execution in front of the United Nation's building in Beirut, Lebanon.
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Saudi Arabia's new terrorism law might look like a step forward, if only because it's written down. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries with no written criminal penal code, and the penal regulations that authorities have issued are so vague that…
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Establishes Legal Veneer for Unlawful Practices

(Beirut) – The Saudi government’s new terrorism law violates the right to due process and a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The law’s serious flaws include vague, overly broad provisions that allow authorities to criminalize free expression and…
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‘Insulting State’s Reputation’ Among New ‘Terrorism’ Offenses

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah should reject a new counterterrorism law that criminalizes virtually any speech critical of the government or society. The Council of Ministers passed the Penal Law for Crimes of Terrorism and its Financing (the “…
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Denied Bail, Family Fears for His Health

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should ensure a fair trial for the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, Human Rights Watch said today. Criminal justice authorities should make sure he gets immediate access to adequate medical care for gunshot wounds received during his…
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Khaled al-Natour, Held Incommunicado, Should be Charged or Freed

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should immediately disclose the whereabouts and condition of the Jordanian activist Khaled al-Natour, and free him or charge him with a recognizable criminal offense. Saudi security forces detained al-Natour at King Khaled…
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Memorandum on Saudi Arabia’s Draft Law of Sanctions for Crimes of Terrorism and Its Financing of 2011

Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned by the human rights implications of the draft Penal Law for Crimes of Terrorism and Its Financing of 2011 (the “draft counterterrorism law”). The flaws of the draft counterterrorism law can be summed up under the…