The Saudi regime persists in infringing upon the freedom of speech and thought, using the legal system to target activists, intellectuals, and academics, while ignoring both domestic and international human rights concerns.
In line with this, the Specialized Criminal Court has handed down an 18-year prison term to activist Manal Saleh Al-Qafiri for expressing her views in past tweets.
Al-Qafiri was initially detained by Saudi officials when she posted these tweets, at which time she was a 17-year-old high school student.
Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took power in April 2015, the Saudi regime has escalated its actions against activists, scholars, and public figures. They are often arrested on charges such as “terrorism and conspiracy against the state,” despite international calls for their release.
These individuals are frequently subjected to trials that have been criticized as lacking in due process, resulting in severe sentences that sometimes include capital punishment.
The Saudi government has been largely unresponsive to international demands for the release of political prisoners. Moreover, there is limited transparency regarding the conditions under which these detainees are held.
Reports have emerged suggesting that many are in poor health and may be subjected to torture and mistreatment. These ongoing human rights violations have led to calls for international intervention to hold the Saudi government accountable and to secure the immediate release of political detainees.