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Saudi Arabia Human Rights

Faced with rising calls for political reform, Saudi Arabian authorities have responded with repressive measures against those suspected of taking part in or supporting protests or expressing views critical of the state. Protesters have been held without charge and incommunicado for days or weeks at a time, and some are reported to have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated. Nearly 20 people connected with protests in the Eastern Province have been killed since 2011 and hundreds have been imprisoned.

Other human rights concerns include the death penalty, with more than 2,000 people executed between 1985 and 2013; the arrest, imprisonment and harassment of large members of the Shi’a Muslim community and other minority groups; long-standing exploitation and abuse of migrant workers by private and state employers; and continued discrimination against women in law and practice.

Saudi Arabia Newsroom



May 14, 2020 • Press Release

Anniversary marks two-year detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia

Amnesty International is calling on King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to release several notable women’s rights defenders, two years after they were detained. On May 15, 2018, a number of prominent Saudi women’s human rights activists were arrested. They had been peacefully advocating for years for the right of women in the kingdom to drive, as well as broader reforms related to the repressive male guardianship system.

April 24, 2020 • Press Release

Prisoner of Conscience in Saudi Arabia: Dr. Abdullah al-Hamid Dies While in Detention

Responding to news of the death of Dr Abdullah al-Hamid, a prisoner of conscience who passed away while in detention in Saudi Arabia, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

April 20, 2020 • Report

Death penalty 2019: Global executions fell by 5%, hitting a 10-year low

Saudi Arabia executed a record number of people in 2019, despite an overall decline in executions worldwide, Amnesty International said in its 2019 global review of the death penalty published …

April 17, 2020 • Press Release

Prisoner of conscience in coma still detained in Saudi Arabia during COVID-19 pandemic

The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately release Dr Abdullah al-Hamid, a prisoner of conscience who remains detained despite being in coma and in critical condition, Amnesty International said today. Dr …

January 31, 2020 • Press Release

Saudi Arabian Arms Ship Bahri Yanbu Faces Growing Opposition in European Ports

Lawsuits, protests and other actions are planned in several European ports to oppose this week’s return of the Bahri Yanbu, a Saudi Arabian state-owned cargo ship that has previously ferried tens of millions of dollars’ worth of arms to fuel the war in Yemen, Amnesty International said today.

January 13, 2020 • Press Release

Why Amnesty Will Not Attend Sham C20 Meetings in Saudi Arabia

The global C20 civil society forum hosted this year by Saudi Arabia is a farcical attempt by the new G20 hosts to whitewash their dire human rights record, Amnesty International said.

December 23, 2019 • Press Release

Khashoggi verdict in Saudi Arabia a whitewash

Responding to a Saudi Arabian court’s sentencing of five people to death and three others to prison for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research …

December 6, 2019 • Press Release

Saudi Arabia Must End Ill-Treatment and Arbitrary Detention of Human Rights Defender, Waleed Abu Al-Khair

Amnesty International has received credible reports that Saudi Arabian prison authorities arbitrarily placed human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Waleed Abu al-Khair in solitary confinement and under tightened security. Waleed was placed in solitary confinement in Dhahban Prison near Jeddah on November 26 and for the past week, has been held incommunicado, put through torture and other ill-treatment.

November 12, 2019 • Press Release

Categorizing Feminism, Atheism, Homosexuality as Crimes Exposes Saudi Arabia’s Dangerous Intolerance

Responding to an official announcement and a promotional video published by Saudi Arabia’s state security agency which categorizes feminism, homosexuality and atheism as ‘extremist ideas,’ Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said:

October 1, 2019 • Press Release

One Year After Khashoggi Killing, Saudi Activists Honor His Legacy by Continuing to Fight for Freedom of Expression

One year since the extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi citizens are honoring Khashoggi’s legacy by pursuing the fight for their inalienable right to freely express themselves, despite the authorities’ continuing crackdown and the absence of any meaningful signal to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, Amnesty International said today.