Rights group concerned about crackdown on press freedom and jailing of journalists in Saudi Arabia

A human rights organization has expressed concern over a crackdown on press freedom and the arbitrary detention of journalists in Saudi Arabia, as the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists, academics and opposition figures show no signs of slowing down.

The human rights organization Sanad, which monitors and exposes human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, announced that the Saudi authorities continue to ignore all international warnings about violations of freedom of expression and the media in the kingdom, and go ahead with their repressive measures against writers and journalists.

Sanad added that Saudi Arabia is among the countries with the highest number of imprisoned journalists according to global press freedom indices, noting that around 14 Saudi journalists and citizen journalists have disappeared in a wave of arrests in the country.

The organization went on to hold Saudi officials fully responsible for the heinous violations of human rights and various forms of freedom in the country, and demanded an urgent crackdown on and abuse of journalists in the country.

Last November, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on the Saudi authorities to immediately release Yemeni journalist Ali Abu Lahoum, sentenced to 15 years in prison.

“This decision shows that the use of internet and social media platforms by journalists and bloggers, which are supposed to be a place where they should exchange information and discuss various topics, is still strictly controlled in the kingdom,” he said. said Sabreen al-Nawi, director. of RSF’s Middle East Division said at the time.

He went on to say that the Yemeni journalist’s wife desperately tried to contact him several times, before realizing that her husband had been subjected to criminal interrogation without the presence of a lawyer.

The organization said the verdict was issued against the Yemeni journalist on October 26, more than two months after his arrest.

Abu Lahoum, who has resided in Saudi Arabia since 2015, reportedly worked in commercial media in the Najran region in the southwest of the country.

He had previously worked as the executive director of Saudi Arabic-language television channel al-Wadi.

Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has stepped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived to be political opponents, making evidence of near-zero tolerance for dissent, even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights activists put behind bars and tortured as freedoms of expression, association and belief continue to be violated.

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