Many of Saudi Arabia’s foremost feminist activists have been arrested by the Saudi government which claims that the women are trying to “destabilize the kingdom and breach its social structure and mar the national consistency.”
Many of the women arrested have been campaigning for years for the right to drive, and have been organizing against the Saudi system of guardianship, which requires that women receive permission from a male guardian to do virtually anything.
The Saudi government is expected to lift the ban on women driving on June 24, but it seems unlikely that the guardianship system will see the same fate.
According to The Guardian, at least two of the arrested women are being held at undisclosed locations and at least one is being held “incommunicado.”
“While it’s not clear why they were arrested, today we have seen Saudi press reports come to suggest that these women are traitors and have been arrested because they are undermining the national unity of the country,” – Rothna Begum, researcher for Human Rights Watch
Nora Abdulkarim, a Saudi-American women’s rights activist, said on Twitter that the arrests have created a tense feeling of fear within the community.
Abdulkarim also published a list of the identities of the women who have been arrested so far, adding the tenth late last night:
- Dr. Ibrahim Al-Modaimegh
- Dr. Aisha Al-Mana
- Madeha Al-Ajroush
- Aziza Al-Yousef
- Dr. Eman Al-Nafjan
- Loujain Al-Hathloul
- Mohammad Al-Rabea
- Abdulaziz Mohammad Al-Mashail
- Dr. Hessah al Al-Shaik
- Wala’a Al-Shubbar
Human rights activists fear that more arrests are to come.
Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.