Saudi Women Who Fought for the Right to Drive Are Disappearing and Going Into Exile

Sarah Aziza for the Intercept writes:

Beginning on May 15, 2018, just weeks before the end of the ban on female drivers, the government began a series of arrests targeting prominent activists. . . Simultaneously, photographs of the women began to circulate on local media and online, accompanied by state accusations of treason and collusion with foreign governments.

[T]he Saudi state’s efforts to suppress dissent appear to extend far beyond the nation’s borders. . . (Since 2015, three Saudi princes who had criticized the royal family also disappeared while abroad, and are believed to have been forcibly returned to the kingdom).

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch reported a rapid increase in arbitrary detentions, with over 2,000 new cases between 2014 to 2018.

[S]aid one activist, now living abroad. “It’s very disheartening.” She continued, “The cost has become too high for most of us — there’s a sense that anything could happen if the government decides to target you. We see human rights groups pointing the finger at Saudi after each arrest, but nothing happens. Saudi Arabia is even on the Human Rights Council!” — a reference to the kingdom’s seat on the U.N. body. “With no outside pressure, why would the government change?”

Anna Kerr Principal Solicitor Feminist Legal Clinic PO Box 273 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Mob: 0402 467 476 anna Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. This e-mail transmission is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential or privileged information. Confidentiality and privilege are not waived if you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail. If you receive this e-mail in error please delete it and any attachments and notify us immediately by reply e-mail. Feminist Legal Clinic does not warrant that any attachments are free from viruses or other defects. By opening attachments you assume all liability for any loss, damage or other consequences that may arise. 


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