• Urgent Action


March 5, 2024

On November 16, 2022, Saudi authorities arrested 29-year-old Manahel al-Otaibi. She has been forcibly disappeared since November 2023. She was charged with violating the AntiCyber Crime Law due to her tweets in support of women’s rights as well as posting photos of herself at the mall without an abaya (a traditional loose-fitting long-sleeved robe) on Snapchat. Her case has been referred from the Criminal Court in Riyadh to the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), set up to try terrorism-related crimes. The SCC is notorious for carrying out grossly unfair trials and handing out harsh sentences, including the death penalty, for individuals peacefully expressing themselves online. Saudi authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Manahel al-Otaibi and drop the charges against her.

take action:

  • Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  • Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 14.24. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

contact information:

Waleed Mohammed Al Samani

Minister of Justice

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Postal Code 11472, P.O. Box 7775

Email: [email protected]

Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the United States

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

601 New Hampshire Ave

NW, Washington, DC 20037

Email:  [email protected]

sample letter:

Your Excellency, 

I am writing to express concerns regarding Saudi authorities have enforced disappearance of Manahel al-Otaibi, who has not seen since November 2023. In November 2022, Manahel was detained and awaiting trial on charges of violating the Anti-Cyber Crime Law for tweeting in support of women’s rights and posting photos on Snapchat of herself at the mall wearing “immodest” clothing. Shortly before her family lost contact with her, she told them that she was beaten by a fellow prisoner.

According to court documents reviewed by Amnesty International, Manahel al-Otaibi was charged with “publishing and spreading content that contains committing public sins and inciting individuals and girls in society to renounce religious principles and social values and to violate public order and public morals on her Twitter account”. The charges against her are based on her social media posts which were “opposed to regulations and laws that relate to women”, including through calling to #EndMaleGuardianship. The prosecutor also referred to reports from 2018 and 2019 by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also known as the religious police, who accused her of tarnishing the reputation of the Kingdom and going to the mall without wearing an abaya, promoting the removal of the hijab, and posting photos of that outing on Snapchat.  

I urge you to order the immediate and unconditional release of Manahel al-Otaibi, as she is being held solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression. Meanwhile, the authorities must reveal her whereabouts to her family.

Yours sincerely,