Revealed: Saudi ministry's harassment of dissidents
Details have emerged of an alleged campaign of intimidation and harassment of female Saudi activist, Rima al-Jareesh, carried out at the behest of the Saudi interior minister, Mohammed bin Nayef.
According to Twitter user @mujtahidd, widely believed to be a Saudi intelligence insider, Bin Nayef’s desire for an end to protests against the detention of dissidents has included the confiscation of her car, intimidation of her driver and detention at gunpoint while she was traveling with her two children.
The threats also reportedly extended to her family and children’s friends, who were told they would share the same fate as her long-imprisoned husband if they continued to support her.
Al-Jareesh has been arrested numerous times over the past few years for taking part in demonstrations against the detention of dissidents in the Kingdom under strict anti-terrorism laws.
She was released after her latest arrest in July, 2011, following a successful campaign on Twitter by her supporters.
Most recently, in September, she was beaten by security forces while trying to prevent the arrest of a number of men who had earlier called for the release of their relatives held at Tarfiya prison in Qassim Province.
Bin Nayef was trained by the FBI in the 1980s and by Britain’s anti-terrorism police in the 1990s. He has been roundly praised by Western intelligence officials and is thought to be in-line for the throne when the crown passes to the grandsons of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
According to the non-governmental Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), the Kingdom is currently holding some 30,000 political prisoners. Last year the interior ministry said it had put on trial 5,080 of nearly 5,700 people it had detained on security grounds.
- Work out this number: Half of Saudi women "do not engage in any form of physical activity"
- The Riyadh roundup: Thousands of beggars arrested in Saudi capital
- Terrorism? Really, Saudi Arabia? Women driving activists sent to “terrorism court”
- Bahrain's dirty secret: How the tiny island nation doubled its prison population since 2011