News

June 13, 2018

Human rights blogger arrested in Saudi Arabia

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its call for the immediate release of all journalists and citizen-journalists detained in Saudi Arabia after the female blogger and human rights activist Nouf Abdulaziz Al Jerawi became the latest victim of a wave of arrests of bloggers and rights activists.

According to the Saudi NGO Al Qst, Nouf Abdulaziz Al Jerawi was arrested on 6 June, since when there has been no news of her fate.

Al Jerawi, who is also a journalist, recently stopped posting on Twitter, even privately, because she had been concerned about the possibility of arrest ever since an earlier wave of arrests of women rights activists, including the blogger Eman al Nafjan in mid-May.


“The Saudi authorities accuse the bloggers and journalists they jail of giving the kingdom a bad image but it is these waves of arrests that harm Saudi Arabia’s image,” RSF said. “The kingdom’s authorities are themselves wrecking the progressive image they are trying to project.”


A supporter of constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia and the region’s Arab Springs, Al Jerawi has worked for several Saudi media outlets and has written about human rights violations in her blog, which currently cannot be accessed.


When she reappeared on social networks in 2016 after several years of absence, she and her family received warnings that the interior ministry was watching her. She was also targeted by troll armies with the aim of intimidating her and getting her to close her Twitter account.


“The situation in Saudi Arabia is so bad today that it is not enough to remain silent – you have to be pro-government,” Al Qst founder Yahya al Asiri said.


According to Al Qst, women’s rights activist Mayaa al-Zahrani was also arrested on 9 June for criticizing Al Jerawi’s arrest in post.


At least 11 journalists and citizen-journalists are officially imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, while more than 15 other professional and non-professional journalists are being held without any official confirmation. Saudi Arabia is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.