In March 2021, the Court of Appeals in Riyadh upheld the verdict of Saudi Arabian woman human rights defender Nassima al-Sada, confirming the final sentence of a five-year prison term followed by a five-year travel ban. Nassima al-Sada had appealed the sentence handed down to her on November 25, 2020, which was based on cybercrime laws but failed to specify the exact crimes allegedly committed by the activist. Nassima al-Sada is detained simply for her peaceful activism for civil and political rights, and for her advocacy for women’s rights and the end of the repressive male guardianship system.
- 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 21.19. 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.
His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)
In March 2021, the Court of Appeals in Riyadh upheld the sentence of Saudi woman human rights defender Nassima al-Sada
, signalling that the verdict is now final and leaving her without any further recourse to justice. The verdict had been issued by the Criminal Court in Riyadh on November 25, 2020 and consisted of a five-year prison term – partially suspended by two years – to be followed by a travel ban of five years. This verdict followed a trial that was marred by serious violations of her due process rights, including prolonged solitary confinement which could amount to torture.
Indeed, Nassima al-Sada’s ordeal started in July 2018, when she was arbitrarily arrested and then detained without charge or trial for almost a year. After a year, she was charged with unspecified crimes based on the cybercrime law, making it clear that she is being prosecuted simply for her peaceful human rights activities, namely advocating for civil and political rights and for the right of women to drive, before the driving ban was lifted in June 2018.
Nassima al-Sada is a brave Saudi woman who has dedicated her life to advocating for peaceful change and is being made to pay with the pain of family separation, isolation, and continuous violations of her rights, for her peaceful activities. She should never have been locked up in the first place – her place is with her family, her three children, her ailing husband, more than ever, during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
I urge you to ensure that Nassima al-Sada is immediately and unconditionally released, and her conviction and sentence are quashed, as she was detained and tried solely for peacefully advocating for equality for women. I also urge you to respect Nassima al-Sada’s right to movement by lifting the travel ban imposed on her for the coming five years.