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UN calls on Saudi Arabia to release detained activists

Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia [SPA]
Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia [SPA]

The United Nations Human Rights Office yesterday called on Saudi Arabia to release all activists who have been detained for demanding an end to the lift on women driving.

“We urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to unconditionally release all human rights defenders and activists who have been detained for their peaceful human rights work, including their decades-long campaigns for the lifting of the driving ban for women,” UN human rights spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, said.

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She added that genuine reforms are apparently taking place in the Kingdom, “but that did not extend to civil and political rights” and that opposition remains unacceptable.

The detainees include prominent women’s rights activist, Hetun Al-Fassi who was arrested in June after planning to take reporters on a tour in her car to celebrate the end of the ban on women driving.

In recent months, Saudi authorities have arrested dozens of clerics, academics, university professors and female activists accusing them of working with foreign parties against the Kingdom’s security and interests, but observers say the arrests target those who oppose the monarchy’s policies.

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