October 25, 2018 - Updated on January 28, 2019

RSF unveils portraits of journalists arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia

After Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that at least 28 other journalists are currently in prison in Saudi Arabia, the victims of an opaque and arbitrary judicial system. RSF is publishing the portraits of the most prominent cases.

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered because he had become a critic of the Saudi regime, and the at We call on Saudi Arabia to end its violence against journalistsSign the petitionleast 28 Saudi journalists, columnists and bloggers who are in prison are there for the same reason, because their articles and their online posts annoyed the regime.

Some were jailed when King Salman or his predecessor, King Abdullah were in charge. They include the citizen-journalist Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2012 for “insulting Islam.” Others are the victims of the crackdown launched in the autumn of 2017 by the new crown prince, his son Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).

They include three women who defended women’s rights. All three were jailed without any charge being officially announced. Most of the journalists currently detained are awaiting trial.

When the trials start, it can be terrible. A death sentence has been requested by the prosecution for Salman al Awdah. One journalist, the poet Fayez Ben Damakh, has completely disappeared. He has been missing since September 2017, when he was on the point of launching a TV news channel in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti media say he was extradited to Saudi Arabia and was imprisoned there.

RSF is publishing the portraits of some of the imprisoned journalists, columnists and bloggers, including the most prominent ones. RSF points out that the number currently in prison may be more than 28 because of the regime’s opaqueness and the difficulty of verifying information.



Raif Badawi, blogger, founder of the Saudi Liberal Network (an online forum)

Alaa Brinji, journalist for Al-Sharq, El Bilad and Okaz

Waleed Abu al Khair, founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

Nazir al Majid, writer and journalist for various media including Al Hayat et Al Sharq

Fadhel al Manafes, a citizen-journalist and human rights defender


Saleh al Shehi, journalist with Al Watan

Eman al Nafjan, women’s rights activist, founder of the Saudi Woman blog

Nouf Abdelaziz al Jerawi, journalist, blogger and activist

Nassema al Sadah (or Nassima al Sada), women’s rights activist and columnist

Ali Al Omari, founder of the 4Shabab TV channel

Malek al Ahmad, editor of several media outlets, founder of Al Mohayed (“The Neutral One”)

Mohammed Saud al Bishar, reporter and columnist, including for the Saudi newspaper Twasul

Jamil Farsi, businessman and columnist for several Saudi newspapers, including Okaz; much followed on Twitter

Essam Al Zamil, economist and citizen-journalist

Abdullah Al Malki, academic and citizen-journalist

Salman al Awdah (or Salman Ouda), reformist preacher and blogger with many followers