Public support for reforming gendered laws

Saudi Arabia responds to international criticism of its bullying of women by bullying more women’s rights advocates.

Saudi Arabia jailed another group of women’s rights advocates on Thursday.

The advocates and writers weren’t politically active, but they had opposed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s regime and expressed public support for reforming gendered laws, according to the Associated Press. The 12 people arrested — 11 men and one woman — reportedly have loose connections with a group of activists who were arrested in 2018 for campaigning to end the country’s ban on women driving and its male guardianship system.

Most of the activists were arrested in the country’s capital city, Riyadh, on Thursday, though one was taken by authorities in the city of Dammam. Among them are two US-Saudi dual citizens — Badr al-Ibrahim, a writer and physician, and Salah al-Haidar, whose mother is prominent women’s rights activist Aziza al-Yousef.

Officials also detained married writers Khadijah al-Harbi, who is pregnant, and Thumar al-Marzouqi, along with writers Mohammed al-Sadiq and Abdullah al-Dehailan, and women’s rights activist Fahad Abalkhail.

The Saudi government imprisoned the activists for being “traitors,” alleging that they conspired with international media and human rights groups, and spread “bad morale.” The government denies the activists were tortured or harassed, despite accusations of abuse.

Prince Jared’s buddies.

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