Young journalist from Mecca who has a reasonable following on twitter. Believed to be arrested because of his tweet "The disagreement between the brothers has no victor everyone is a loser, and the loss is magnified as much as chivalry and morals fall, and keenness on self-preservation and following the whims of demons and harassers!". His family or lawyer does not know any information about the conditions of detention, status, or any information about his health condition, nor about the charges directed against him. The latest news we have is that he is being tried in the Specialised criminal courts.
Sami al-Thubaiti was one of the first journalists to be arrested in Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s widespread crackdown on perceived dissent. His whereabouts are unknown, and no charges have been disclosed. Al-Thubaiti was arrested at his home in Mecca in September 2017, according to a report from Al-Qst, a U.K.-based organization that monitors human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, and a blog post on Qatari-based Al-Jazeera. Al-Thubaiti wrote for the Saudi news website Tawasul, covering a range of stories from the kidnappings of two girls in Mecca to official malfeasance at a local hospital and the closure of a Saudi news channel, according to a CPJ review of the site. At the time of his arrest, Saudi authorities were arresting activists, dissidents, media figures, and religious personalities amid a power struggle within the royal family in which Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman amassed wide-ranging power, according to news reports. Authorities said the arrests were aimed at cracking down on people assisting “foreign powers working to undermine the monarchy,” according to reports. Journalists arrested included those who did not publicly state their support for the crown prince or his policies, had otherwise not written about politics, or had not been active for some time. Ammar Mutawa, who described himself as a friend of al-Thubaiti, wrote in a November 2017 post on the blogging section of Qatari-based Al-Jazeera website that he thought the arrest may have been related to the journalist’s Twitter posts. Mutawa did not provide further detail. CPJ’s review of a selection of posts on the journalist’s Twitter feed found some tweets calling for unity among Middle East nations, but no posts that were overly critical of the Saudi authorities. As of October 2019, CPJ was unable to determine the exact date of al-Thubaiti’s arrest, whether the journalist had been formally charged or appeared before a court, where he was being held, or his health status. A researcher for Al-Qst also told CPJ that al-Thubaiti’s whereabouts, health status, and charges are unknown. As of late 2019, Tawasul had not responded to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment on his arrest or on his conditions.