The Saudi government descended upon eight citizens in the country, including two with dual US citizenship for supporting women's rights, and also those who have criticised the kingdom's royal family after the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Guardian reports that the outspoken activists were not targeted but those quietly working on the sidelines, as well as those with connections to women's rights activists, caught the eye of the Saudi government. The targeted people did not voice out their opinions on social media. Reports suggest that their loose connections with certain individuals were what got under the radar of the Saudi government.
For example, Salah al-Haidar, a US citizen living in Saudi was one of the seven men detained. While he himself did not voice out any of his political views, his mother, Aziza al-Yousef is a well-known women's rights activist.
The detainees were taken from their homes in Riyadh, Saudi's capital. However, one of the detainees was taken from Damman, a city in the east of the country.
Here are the list of the seven men and one pregnant woman who were detained by the Saudi government.
- Badr al-Ibrahim – A US citizen who works as a writer as well as a physician
- Salah al-Haidar – Salah's mother is a famous women's rights activist. He has a house in Vienna, Virginia but lives with his family in Saudi.
- Khadijah al-Harbi – A pregnant woman who is a women's rights activist and writer.
- Thumar al-Marzouqi – A writer, Thumar was taken since he is Kadija's husband.
- Mohammed al-Sadiq – A writer living in Saudi Arabia.
- Abdullah al-Dehailan – Abdullah is a writer.
- Fahad Abalkhail – A prominent feminist activist who came under the radar for his support to allow Saudi women to drive.
While these are the most recent arrests, many have been detained by law enforcement over the past few months.
Loujain al-Hathloul is an activist who was detained last May. Her siblings had mentioned on Twitter of her arrest and subsequent torture and that the Saudi government is pressuring the siblings to remain silent. While the siblings do not live in Saudi, the activist's father does and was briefly picked up by Saudi law enforcement after he tweeted about Loujain's arrest.
Another arrest was of Anas al-Mazroui, a professor at King Saud College, was arrested in March. He had made comments regarding the arrests and also named the women detained. He mentioned these names when he was part of a panel on Human Rights.