Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: Women driving activists Maysaa Al-Amodi and Loujain Al-Hathloul remain in detention

27.01.15

Update: Maysaa Al-Amodi and Lujain Al-Hathlol have been released on 12 February 2015.

The Monitor for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA) and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) are alarmed by reports that two women driving activists remain in detention since their arrest on 01 December 2014.  

Maysaa Al-Amodi is detained in a prison for women in Al-Ahsa region while Loujain Al-Hathloul, a student, is detained in a Al-Ahsa rehabilitation Facility for young girls under 30 years old. Both of them face charges of “breaching public order” and “overriding [her] guardian’s authority,” for driving a car without permission (in this case, the King’s authority.) They drove to meet each other at the border with the United Arab Emirates, whereupon they were arrested. See: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/836. 

On 25 December 2014, a Criminal Court judge in Al-Ahsaa dismissed the case against Al-Amodi and Al-Hathlol, saying his court had no legal jurisdiction to deal with the case. Therefore, he referred the case to the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, which deals with cases of terrorism and State security. 

The MHRSA and the GCHR once again condemn the arrest of the two women, Al-Amodi and Al-Hathloul, and condemns the referral of their cases to the Specialized Criminal Court seeing that both of them are only activists working in a peaceful manner to promote a woman’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia.

The MHRSA and the GCHR call on the Saudi government to release the two activists Maysaa Al-Amodi and Lujain Al-Hathloul immediately and unconditionally; to stop targeting campaigners for women's right to drive and to allow women to drive freely without any judicial harassment or other reprisals.