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Renowned Scholar Hatoon Al-Fassi Arrested Week after Driving Ban Lifted in Saudi Arabia

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

In July 2018 Endangered Scholars Worldwide learned that Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi, a prominent women's rights advocate and writer at the Riyadh paper, was arrested in June, according to reports circulated on social media.

Hatoon al-Fassi joins more than a dozen women targeted in a recent government crackdown on women’s rights activism that continues despite the country's end of its ban on women driving in June.


Al-Fassi is a renowned scholar and an associate professor of women's history at King Saud University. Her work focuses on women's history and politics, and she has long been advocating for the right of women to participate in municipal elections. She was one of the first women to drive the day the ban was lifted.


The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has documented the arrest of around 20 human rights defenders, many of whom are supporters of women's rights campaigns. Eight have been released, including women who fought for the right to drive and to live free from the control of a male guardian. However, those released may still face rearrest as new reports claim they have only been released "until the completion of their procedural review."


Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores and condemns the detention and persecution of Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi and calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to strongly protest and condemn this arbitrary incarceration; to ask for al-Fassi's immediate and unconditional release; to urge the Saudi authorities to release and drop charges against all persons detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly immediately and unconditionally. We entreat the Saudi authorities to reveal the whereabouts of Hatoon Al-Fassi and to allow her immediate access to her family and lawyers of her choice.


Please send appeals to the following:


Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasseriya Street Riyadh 11124 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fax: +966 1 403 0645


Dr. Walid bin Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Samaani Minister of Justice PO Box 58889, Bldg. 373 King Fahad Road Riyadh 11515 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fax: +966 1 4612061


#SaudiArabia #News