Saudi Arabia: Hands off Samar Badawi | Letter

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Samar Badawi, human and women’s rights advocate

Friday, 03 August 2018

His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125

His Excellency Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125

His Excellency Waleed bin Mohammad Al Samaani
Minister of Justice, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: + 966 11 405 7777

His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz
Minister of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: + 966 11 401 1111 / + 966 11 401 1944 / + 966 11 403 1125

His Excellency Adel bin Ahmed El Jubeir
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Fax: + 966 11 403 0645

His Excellency Abdulaziz Alwasil
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 758 00 00

His Excellency Abdulrahman bin Soliman Al-Ahmed
Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 6468538


Your Majesties and Excellencies:


Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)[1] calls on Saudi Arabia to:

  • immediately and unconditionally release Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah; and,
  • Keep HANDS OFF Ms Badawi and Ms al-Sadah in the future.

The arrest and detention this week of Ms Badawi and Ms al-Sadah is another alarming instance of Saudi Arabia’s misuse of its police powers to arbitrary detain articulate critics in order to frighten others into silence: to use terror as a means of totalitarian domination with human rights defenders a particular target. .

Ms Badawi, was formerly a prominent advocate for imprisoned human rights activists and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, in particular the rights of women to vote, drive and achieve social justice. She has been harassed for her work in the past. A travel ban was imposed in 2014; she was arrested, along with her infant daughter on 12 January 2016 and forcibly interrogated in February 2017. The latter two actions were reprisals for her advocating for the release of Waleed Abu al-Khair, her daughter’s father and Raif Badawi, her brother. The ongoing imprisonment of these two men has been condemned as arbitrary and a grave violation of Saudi Arabia’s international law obligations by human rights and legal specialists throughout the world. Ms al-Sadah has also been a prominent activist for the rights of women and the Shi’a minority.

LRWC joins with others to call on Saudi Arabia to honour its obligations as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, [and to] fully cooperate with the Council…during their term of membership.”[2] As part of those duties, Saudi Arabian must cease all harassment and intimidation of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah including ceasing all interrogations, summons to appear for interrogation, threat or initiation of criminal proceedings and any other actions that threaten their liberty or the safety.



Gail Davidson, Executive Director, LRWC               Maya Duvage, LRWC member


Copied to:
Prime Minister of Canada
Mr. Justin Trudeau

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Chrystia Freeland

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Mr. David Kaye

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
Ms. Annalisa Ciampi

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Mr. Michel Forst

Special Rapporteur on the independence of the judges and lawyers
Mr. Diego Garcia-Sayan

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
Ms. Fionnuala Ni Aolain

Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Mr. Nils Melzer

United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Mr. José Guevara
Ms. Leigh Toomey
Ms. Elina Steinerte
Mr. Sètondji Adjovi
Mr. Seong-Phil Hong

[1] LRWC is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote international human rights law and the rule of law globally through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC is a volunteer-run NGO with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations.

[2]UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, 3 April 2006, A/res/60/251, para 9, available at: [accessed 18 March 2016]