Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) called on the Saudi authorities to come clean on the fate of activist Amani Al-Zain who was reportedly arrested from her home in Jeddah after a campaign of incitement targeting her on social media.
Al-Zain was arrested on 17 May 2020 by the Presidency of State Security and no official comment has yet been made, the Gulf Center for Human Rights said in a statement today.
Al-Zain’s arrest came after a large Twitter campaign initiated by an online army believed to be close to the Saudi government under the Arabic hashtag #Amani_AlZain_insulting_Crown_
The campaign of incitement was sparked by an old recording of a video chat between Al-Zain and Egyptian Internet activist Wael Ghonim dating back to October 2019 which included ironic expressions about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
GCRL raised fears that Al-Zain’s detention comes in retaliation of her stance against government’s crackdown on freedom of expression, stressing that this prosecution of activists in Saudi Arabia run counter to the Kingdom’s obligations towards international agreements and covenants, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which Article 19 states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.
GCRL reiterates calls for Saudi Arabia to immediately release all prisoners of conscience and compensate them for the psychological and physical harm they suffered. It also urges the international community to assume its responsibility by taking into consideration this ongoing wave of repression and arrests and rethink its ties with Riyadh and to publically denounce the crackdown on human rights defenders in the Kingdom.