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Saudi Arabia: Two US citizens imprisoned in recent raid, says source



Salah al-Haidar, a Saudi-American dual citizen who is the son of prominent women's rights advocate Aziza al-Yousef, was one of the detainees, according to two sources, who were familiar with the incidents. Yousef was temporarily released from a jail in Riyadh last month and is on trial with ten other women's rights defenders.

One source is a Saudi scientist at a US university who maintains close relations with the Saudi dissident community. The other source is a Saudi activist who knows about the events.

Haidar is a writer and journalist for social issues. His father owns a house in Vienna, Virginia, according to the Saudi Arabian academic, who for safety reasons had not raised any objections.

Another Saudi dual citizen, the writer and physician Bader al-Ibrahim, was also arrested According to sources

Saudi Arabia-based Saudi rights group Alqst reported that seven activists had been arrested on Thursday releasing their names.

All seven prisoners are writers and social media bloggers associated with them, Yousef's family and friends with Haidar, the sources said. Previously, they had participated in public discussions about reforms and publicly endorsed women's rights, such as the right to drive, sources said.

Two of the activists arrested on Thursday are the Saudi couple Thumar al-Mazouqi and Khadijah al-Harbi. said the sources. The sources, Harbi added, have written on women's rights and campaigned for women's rights. She and Mazouqi support the detention of women's rights defenders currently in court.

The sources also confirmed that a lecturer at the University of Riyadh, Anas al-Mazrou, was arrested on 1

9 March. Days before, a video of Mazrou was filmed at a book fair. By publicly expressing solidarity with political prisoners and naming some imprisoned women's rights defenders, they had become viral.

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The Saudi government did not immediately respond to CNN's request to comment on the case. CNN has turned to the US Embassy in Riyadh for comment.

Saudi Arabia has conducted a series of crackdowns on dissidents since Prince Mohammed bin Salman was crowned crown prince in June 2017. The arrests were directed against clerics, academics and human rights defenders.
In May and June 2018, several women's rights activists were arrested in a series of arrests that have been widely criticized by the international community, including the United Nations Human Rights Council.
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The killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a US Citizens and government critics, in Saudi Arabia in October 2018 Consulate in Istanbul sparked international turmoil.

The number of arrests of dissidents seemed to be dropping sharply after Khashoggi's assassination, and many observers hoped that the kingdom's actions would be de-escalating, said Alqst director Yahya Assiri to CNN.

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] The arrests on Thursday appeared to be a rejuvenation of the crackdown, Assiri and the Saudi academics said.

"It breaks my heart, but most of all, I know that the family of Salah al-Haidar is # Saudi feminist (as Salah's mother) Aziza al-Yousef's arrest since May 2018," wrote the Harvard Doctor Nora Abdulkarim in a Tweet. "Days after their release and their celebrations, Salah is arrested now, I can not understand it."


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