Saudi authorities have arrested a female activist who criticised the Saudi government’s attempts to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel, local sources reported.
Noha Al-Balawi was summoned for questioning on 23 January and has been held by Saudi police since. Her detention has been extended for a further 35 days, according to activists.
Al-Balawi recently published a video on Twitter denouncing the Saudi government’s attempts to normalise ties with Israel “at the expense of the Palestinian issue”.
Wearing a niqab in the video, Al-Balawi said that Israeli-Saudi relations “would only serve the interests of the Tel Aviv regime, and would be to the detriment of Arab nations.”
Saudi police noted that Al-Balawi could be tried under Article 6 of the Saudi Arabian cybercrime law, which punishes anyone who creates or transmits information deemed “prejudicial to public order”.
“If she is found guilty, she could face up to five years in prison or be hit with an $800,000 fine,” activists said, pointing out that she is expected to appear in court on Monday.
Speaking in an interview with France24 last December, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, said the Kingdom has a “roadmap” to establish full diplomatic ties with the Tel Aviv regime. Al-Jubeir’s remarks were criticised by numerous activists across the Arabic region.