Supporters of Saudi women activists detained, including two US citizens: sources
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has arrested eight people, including two dual U.S.-Saudi citizens, in an apparent crackdown on supporters of women activists whose trial has drawn Western condemnation, rights groups said on Friday.
The 11 women on trial had campaigned for the right to drive and an end to the kingdom`s male guardianship system. Their case has intensified criticism of Riyadh`s rights record, already in the spotlight after last year`s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The U.S. nationals are journalist Salah al-Haidar, whose mother Aziza al-Yousef is among those on trial, and Bader al-Ibrahim, a doctor and author of a book about Shi`ite Muslim politics, the associate and London-based Saudi rights group ALQST said.
Those newly detained, seven men and one woman, are not frontline activists but have expressed support of women`s rights and other reforms. They were detained late on Wednesday and Thursday, according to ALQST and an associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Five other people close to the women have also been placed under a travel ban since February, they added.
An official from the U.S. State Department confirmed the arrest of two U.S. citizens and said it had “engaged the Saudi government in this regard”, without providing details.