Souad Al-Shammary arrested, 3 others sentenced
7 November 2014

Souad Al-Shammary arrested, 3 others sentenced

Saudi Arabia

Lawyers for Lawyers has sent a letter to the Saudi Arabic authorities to express its concern about the recent developments in this country. On October 28 the first female lawyer of Saudi Arabia, Souad Al-Shammary, was arrested for tweets she sent in 2013. A day earlier Mr Abdulrahman Al- Subaihi, Mr Bander Alnogaithan, and Mr Abdulrahman Al- Rumaih were sentenced to 5 to 8 years imprisonment and travel and media bans.

Abdulrahman Al- Subaihi is a lawyer and former professor at Saudi Arabia High Judicial Institute. He is also a board member of the Institute’s Judicial Assembly. Bander Alnogaithan is a lawyer and a former lecturer at Dar Al Uloom University. Abdulrahman Al- Rumaih is a former judge at the General Court in Riyadh. The three human rights defenders advocate for the independence of the judiciary, through the use of social media platforms. The three lawyers were sentenced on charges including “insulting the judiciary” and “prejudicing public order” via Twitter.

According to the information L4L received Abdulrahman Al- Subaihi was sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment and a further 10-year travel ban on charges relating to “interfering with the ruler’s competencies”, “sabotaging Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy”, “insulting the judiciary” and “inciting against judges” via Twitter. Bander Alnogaithan and Abdulrahman Al- Rumaih were sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment and a further 7-year travel ban for charges including “insulting the judiciary” and “interfering with its competencies”. All three were banned from making media appearances or using social media platforms.

Ms. Souad al-Shammary was arrested while attending a first interrogation session at the Bureau of Investigation in Jeddah. Al-Shammari has been interrogated for tweets she published on her Twitter account and she currently faces charges including “calling upon society to disobey by describing society as masculine” as well as “using sarcasm while mentioning religious texts and religious scholars.” Lawyers for Lawyers received worrying information that Souad Al-Shammari’s lawyer was prevented from attending interrogation sessions and was not able to see the interrogation report. Furthermore, Al-Shammari seems to have been verbally abused by the investigator who told her “now the society will get rid of your evils.”

Please find our letter here.

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