Free Saudi Arabia’s voices of change  

Saudi Arabia’s authorities are intensifying their campaign to silence all critical voices in the country. A mere social media post calling for human rights reforms or criticizing the authorities can lead to decades in prison, travel bans, or even a death sentence. Meanwhile, the authorities’ expensive PR machine is peddling an image of progress and glamour to the world, flying in famous athletes and entertainers to distract from the country’s atrocious human rights record. Act now and call on Saudi Arabia’s authorities to release all those wrongfully detained for exercising their freedom of expression. 

What is the problem?

Saudi Arabia’s authorities have forcibly disappeared 29-year-old fitness instructor Manahel al-Otaibi since November last year. She has spent more than a year behind bars.  And for what? Tweeting in support of women’s rights. 

Saudi Arabia’s authorities have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to anything they perceive as criticism. People are being sentenced to some of the harshest terms Amnesty International has ever documented in Saudi Arabia for exercising the right to freedom of expression, including decades-long prison terms, travel bans, and the death penalty. 

Human rights defender Mohammed al-Qahtani remains imprisoned for his human rights work, despite finishing his 10-year prison sentence last year. 

The crackdown has also swept up people not previously involved in political activism.  

Retired schoolteacher Mohammad bin Nasser al-Ghamdi was sentenced to death for criticizing the authorities on X, formerly Twitter, to a combined follower count of just 10 people.  

Salma al-Shehab, a PhD student and mother of two, is serving a 27-year prison sentence followed by a 27-year travel ban for social media posts in support of women’s rights. 

Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, a Red Crescent aid worker, is currently forcibly disappeared, and he has been imprisoned since March 2018. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by a 20-year travel ban over his satirical tweets.

While this level of flagrant repression is taking place in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is spending billions of dollars in a remarkable display of smoke and mirrors, to polish the country’s image and hide the truth. 

What can you do to help?

As Saudi Arabia keeps oiling its PR machine, we need to amplify the voices and stories of people swept up in the authorities’ crackdown on the right to freedom of expression. Our silence cannot be bought. Act now and call on Saudi Arabia’s authorities to release all those wrongfully detained for exercising their freedom of expression.