On 23 March, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 52 under item 4 during the General debate. ADHRB calls on Saudi Arabia to release all Human rights defenders and Activists.
We would like to call the council’s attention to Saudi Arabia’s escalating utilization of anti-terrorism and cybercrime laws in 2022 as a form of intimidation and reprisal against human rights defenders and opposition activists, some of whom are from other nationalities. Many activists who published or shared tweets expressing their opinion received long prison sentences and fines, as well as travel bans. Salma Al-Shehab, Mahdia Marzouki, Noura Al Qahtani, Saad Almadi and others were sentenced to years in prison or even life imprisonment in entirely unfair trials after being charged with disturbing public order, destabilizing the society’s security and stability and other ambiguous charges. These are profound violations of international standards and Saudi Arabia’s human rights obligations. In this regard, we reiterate the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ serious concerns about the mass arrests and called on Saudi Arabia to establish strong legislative frameworks that are compatible with international human rights law in order to support the rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to peaceful assembly. We call on the council to pressure Saudi Arabia to abolish or amend its anti-terrorism and cybercrime systems and to release all imprisoned activists and human rights defenders.