Nassima al-Sadah

Nassima al-Sadah

Nassima al-Sada is a columnist and human rights activist who writing pushed for political participation and an end to violence against women in addition to an end to Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving. Al-Sada’s detention in mid-2018 came a few months after the initial wave of arrests of female journalists and activists, and unlike these earlier cases she has yet to face charges or appear before a court. Saudi authorities arrested al-Sada in late July or early August 2018, with the Saudi-focused human rights organization Al-Qst, in a report dated August 1, 2018, saying she was arrested in the preceding days and the Guardian reporting her arrest on August 2 without specifying the date. CPJ was unable to determine the exact date of her arrest. Al-Sada’s arrest came as part of a crackdown beginning in May 2018 on activists and bloggers associated with the campaign against the ban on women driving, which Saudi authorities lifted 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. Al-Sada wrote a column for the Saudi online newspaper Juhaina, where she focused on topics such as Saudi nationality laws, women’s political participation in the kingdom, and an analysis of the U.N. campaign to end violence against women. According to Amnesty International and Al-Qst, al-Sada was well-known for her human rights activism, particularly against the ban on women driving. Al-Qst reported that al-Sada had also worked as a human rights instructor, while Amnesty reported that she tried to stand in municipal elections in 2015 but was banned from participating. The Guardian reported that she was a cofounder of the Saudi human rights organization al-Adalah. Al-Sada was not among the defendants in a trial for several women’s rights activists and female journalists that began in March 2019, The Washington Post reported March 30, 2019.

Personal information

Name: Nassima al-Sadah

Name in Arabic: نسيمة السادة

Date of Birth: 13 August 1974

Gender: Female

Marital status: Married

Profession: Human rights activist

Place of residence: Qatif

Arrest and jail information

Date of arrest:30 July 2018

Manner of arrest: Unknown

Where held: Al-Mabaheth (General Investigations Directorate), Dammam

Trial information

Alleged crimes: Unknown

Victim's charges: Communicating with foreign entities hostile to the state

Court: Criminal Court

Verdict: Unknown

Date of verdict: Unknown

Updates on trial: Nassima al-Sadah was summoned to attend a session of her trial in Riyadh Criminal Court on 18 July 2019. She was convicted of charges based on confessions to posting messages on social media including Twitter. Judge Ibrahim Ali al-Luhaidan asked her to sign a document requesting a temporary release until the next hearing, without setting a date for this. On 19 Feb 2020 women rights activists Naseema Alsada, Samar Badawi and Nouf Abdulaziz were called to for a secret trial session in the Criminal Court in which international observers denied from attending it. Due to International pressure the Saudi Authorities have moved the case women rights activists from the Speicilised Criminal Court ( which deals with terrorism cases ) to Criminal court.

Previous arrests:

Human Rights Violations

Violations: Arbitrary arrest/ detention , Denied access to a lawyer, Placed in solitary confinement

Violation details: Placed in solitary confinement for nearly a year


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