Saudi Arabia: Ongoing judicial harassment against Samar Badawi

Urgent Appeal

SAU 003 / 0217 / OBS 018
Judicial harassment
Saudi Arabia
February 17, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Saudi Arabia.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment targeting Ms. Samar Badawi, a vocal advocate for imprisoned human rights activists and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, in particular the rights of women to vote, drive and achieve social justice.

According to the information received, on February 13, 2017, Ms. Samar Badawi received a phone call from the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in Jeddah, summoning her to appear at 10 am on February 15, 2017 for an interrogation.

Ms. Samar Badawi presented herself on that day and was interrogated for several hours. Later, on her Twitter account, Ms. Samar Badawi explained that the interrogation was “related to previous issues about [her] human rights and civil activities including women’s campaign against male guardians”.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time Ms. Samar Badawi is judicially harassed by the Saudi authorities [1] (see background information).Thus, the Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the repeated judicial harassment of Ms. Samar Badawi by Saudi authorities, which only seems to aim at sanctioning her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities and urges Saudi authorities to put an end to it.

Furthermore, the Observatory condemns the ongoing arbitrary detention of Ms. Badawi’s ex-husband, Mr. Waleed Abu al-Khair, and brother, Mr. Raif Badawi, which only aims at punishing them for their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities, and calls upon the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and drop all charges against them (see background information).

Background information:

In December 2014, Ms. Samar Badawi was intercepted at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, and prevented to board a plane to attend the EU NGO Forum on Human Rights in Brussels, Belgium, before being informed of a travel ban issued by the Ministry of Interior against her [2].

On January 6, 2016, Ms. Samar Badawi was summoned by the Criminal Investigation Authority in Jeddah for interrogation concerning activity on the Twitter account of her detained ex-husband, human rights lawyer Mr. Waleed Abu Al-Khair [3]. Ms. Badawi waited for several hours before being asked to come back on January 12, 2016. On that date, officers started interrogating her at 11 am on accusations that she had been managing her husband’s Twitter account and more particularly leaking a picture on January 8, 2016, of Mr. Fawzan Al-Harbi, a member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) arbitrarily detained with Mr. Abu Al-Khair at the Al-Malaz prison, before Mr. Abu Al-Khair’s transfer to Dhahban Central Prison in Jeddah in January 2016.

After being interrogated for about four hours, she was placed in a police car and transferred along with her two years old daughter, to Hayy al-Salam police station. Upon arrival, she was formally placed under arrest and transferred alone to Dhahban Central Prison where both her ex-husband and her brother Mr. Raif Badawi [4] are detained. On January 13, 2016, she was released on bail in the early morning. Later on the same day she appeared before the public prosecution, who released her without charges.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Saudi Arabia asking them to:

Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Samar Badawi as well as all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia;
Put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation, including at judicial level, against Ms. Samar Badawi and all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrance and fear of reprisal;
Comply in all circumstances with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;
More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and instruments.


· His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125; Email:
· H.E. Waleed bin Mohammad Al Samaani, Minister of Justice, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Fax: + 966 11 401 1741 / + 966 11 402 0311 / +966114055399
· His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: +966 11 403 3125; Email:
· H.E. Adel bin Ahmed El Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: +966114030645; Email:
· H.E. Abdulaziz Alwasil, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 758 00 00. Email:
· H.E. Abdulrahman bin Soliman Al-Ahmed, Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 6468538. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Saudi Arabia in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, February 17, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

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