Saudi Arabia convicts a fitness trainer of terrorism for wearing immodest clothing

Amnesty International calls on Saudi Arabia to release the fitness trainer and women’s rights activist Manahel al-Otaibi, 29 years ago He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for every During an “indecent robbery” And ask Phi male guardianship systemAccording to what was reported by the non-governmental organization for human rights in a permit.

Manahel al-Otaibi va ser He was arrested on November 9 and January 9 A criminal court specializing in terrorism sentenced her to prison for wearing sportswear and calling for the end of male guardianship via social media.

According to Amnesty International, the girl “disappeared” for five months after her arrest, until on April 14, Al-Otaibi was able to speak by phone with her family. So he told them that he had entered Isolation system In Al-Malaz prison in Riyadh. He stated that he was arrested Brutally beatenThis is good He broke his leg and did not receive any medical care.

The details of his case were not known until after A Request from the United Nations Human Rights OfficeThey received an official response from Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty International and the NGO ALQST, a Saudi group focused on human rights in the country, reported that the Saudi authorities’ arguments did not match the reasons for his arrest.

From London explaining NGOs a report Which Al-Otaibi was accused of publishing on social media The label “abolishing male guardianship” (#EndMaleGuardianship) and videos of her wearing what was considered “inappropriate theft” I Buy the cloak of feelingIt is a long robe worn by women according to Islamic traditions.

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Saudi Arabia itself Official response to the United Nations Human Rights OfficeHe denied that Al-Otaibi was convicted because of posts on social media. She said she had been convicted before Terrorism crimes “It has nothing to do with his exercise of freedom of opinion and expression or his posts on social media sites,” without providing further details about the case.

Amnesty International explained this Al-Otaibi’s sister, Fawzia, He was facing Similar accusationsbut He fled from Saudi Arabia After she was summoned for interrogation in 2022. Fawzia also denounced on social media the position of her sister and her country’s regime:

The Saudi anti-terrorism law, under which Al-Otaibi was convicted, was criticized by the United Nations as a crime. A very broad tool to stifle dissent.

In the past two years, Saudi courts have convicted and sentenced dozens of individuals to long prison terms for their expression on social media, including many women, such as Al Jamia. Salma Al-Shehab, convicted For using Twitter to 27 years in prison; Nourah al-Qahtani, She was sentenced to 45 years for criticizing the regime on this network, or Fatima Al-Shawarbi, who was sentenced to 30 years, or Sakina Al-Aithan, who was sentenced to 40 years.

Human rights reforms that are not coming

Bisan FaqihIn a press statement, an Amnesty International activist in Saudi Arabia denounced the empty reformist intentions shown by the country.

“With this ruling, the Saudi authorities revealed the hollowness of their much-touted women’s rights reforms in recent years, and demonstrated their frightening commitment to silencing peaceful dissent.”

The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanHe came to power in 2017, promising sweeping social and economic reforms and easing some restrictions on male guardianship laws.

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Since then, Saudi women have been able to drive cars, obtain a passport, travel alone, register births and deaths, and obtain divorces. They also relaxed Dress code For foreign women in 2019, but human rights activists say Saudi women still face restrictions. Saudi laws still do this It is more difficult for a woman to get a divorce than a man to get a divorce.

Saudi Arabia, under the spotlight for its human rights record, still has several promised reforms pending, including the implementation of the 2022 Personal Status Law that regulates many aspects of male guardianship, including male custody of children and allowing marriage to women. Some provisions They can facilitate domestic violenceAccording to Amnesty International.

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