US citizens among 7 arrested in new Saudi crackdown

6 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

DUBAI: At least seven writers and bloggers, including two US citizens, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia, activists on said Friday, despite heightened international scrutiny of the kingdom’s human rights record, reports AFP.

London-based human rights group ALQST identified the US-Saudi dual nationals as writer and doctor Bader al-Ibrahim, and Salah al-Haidar, the son of Aziza al-Yousef—a high-profile activist who was temporarily released last week but remains on trial along with other women’s rights campaigners.

ALQST said all those arrested were “writers and social media bloggers previously engaged in public discourse on reforms”.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi authorities.

The news of the arrests comes after US lawmakers voted on Thursday to end military support for a Saudi-led war in neighbouring Yemen, which has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

It marks the first major crackdown since high-profile journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi agents last October inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

The kingdom already faces international criticism over the ongoing trial of 11 women, some of whom allegedly faced torture and sexual abuse during nearly a year in detention, on charges that include contact with foreign media, diplomats and human rights groups.