Hatoon al-Fassi

Hatoon al-Fassi

Hatoon al-Fassi

Hatoon al-Fassi was arrested in late June 2018, according to reports by Reuters and AFP. The Paris-based international NGO International Federation for Human Rights reported that al-Fassi was arrested June 24, though other reports did not state the exact date of her arrest. Al-Fassi, an associate professor of women’s history at Riyadh’s King Saud University, wrote a weekly column for the newspaper Al-Riyadh, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, a scholar with the U.S.-based think tank Brookings Institution, wrote that al-Fassi had written the column for 25 years and exhorted readers to push for reforms in Saudi Arabia that would protect the rights of women and children. According to the International Federation for Human rights and Reuters, al-Fassi was active in a local campaign against Saudi authorities’ ban on women driving, which was lifted on June 24 2018. Her writing was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” plan for modernizing the Saudi economy, and columns written shortly before her arrest criticized bureaucratic and logistical impediments to women driving in the kingdom and called for authorities to allow women to take posts in the Saudi judicial system. Al-Fassi’s arrest also came as part of a broader wave of arrests aimed at activists who campaigned against the ban on women driving. Beginning in May 2018, Saudi authorities started detaining prominent figures in the movement, even as Crown Prince Mohammed lifted the ban on June 24, 2018. In November 2018, Human Rights Watch and The Washington Post both reported that Saudi authorities tortured at least three of the women detained in the wave of arrests with electric shocks and floggings, and that at least one of the women tried to commit suicide in detention. According to The Wall Street Journal, at least one of the women in Saudi custody was sexually assaulted.

Personal information

Name: Hatoon al-Fassi

Name in Arabic: هتون الفاسي

Date of Birth: 17 May 1905

Gender: Female

Marital status: Married

Profession: Academic , Human rights activist , Journalist , Women’s rights activist

Place of residence: Riyadh

Arrest and jail information

Date of arrest:27 June 2018

Manner of arrest: In a raid on her home by the security forces

Where held: Dhahban Central Prison, Jeddah

Trial information

Alleged crimes: Unknown

Victim's charges: Communicating with individuals and organisations hostile to Saudi Arabia; recruiting persons in sensitive positions to obtain confidential information and documents to be used against country; providing financial support to hostile elements abroad

Court: --

Verdict: Unknown

Date of verdict: Unknown

Updates on trial: Hatoon al-Fassi was summoned to attend court on the following dates: 1st session: 13/03/2019 2nd session: 27/03/2019 3rd session: 03/04/2019

Previous arrests:

Human Rights Violations

Violations: Arbitrary arrest/ detention , Denied access to a lawyer , Torture and ill-treatment , Observers denied access to court hearings

Violation details: Unknown


Reference 1: None

Reference 2: None

Reference 3: https://alqst.org/prisonersofconscience/hatoon-al-fassi

Reference 4: None


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