Saudi activist and journalist has been banned from leaving the country



Ms Iman al-Qahtani is a Saudi journalist and activist, she has been outspoken in her support for fellow human rights campaigners in the Arabian kingdom.

Unsurprisingly Saudi officials were said to have been unhappy with her reporting. In April, she said she would stop tweeting to protect her family from reprisals. In a brief, dramatic tweet, she told her followers she was doing it for her mother’s sake.

There were reports Ms Qahtani had been coming under pressure from the security services over her reporting of the trials of two leading Saudi human rights activists, Mohammad al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamid.
These two men founded the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). They were tried on a variety of charges including breaking their allegiance to the king and setting up an unlicensed organisation. Iman Qahtani was among a group of activists and journalists who live-tweeted the hearings, posting pictures from inside the court. This allowed a rare transparency for the legal process in Saudi Arabia.

One of the judges originally ordered Ms Qahtani’s arrest for providing false information, although this charge was later dropped.
Both the ACPRA founders were finally found guilty and given sentences of 10-11 years in jail. Several other rights activists have been imprisoned in the past two years – indication the Saudi authorities are taking a harder line on dissent in the wake of the Arab Spring upheavals.

Iman Qahtani’s silence on Twitter had raised concerns for her.
A few days ago, in a message on Twitter, ms Al-Qahtani said she had been stopped from flying to Istanbul. Only at the moment she was trying to leave the country she was told of her travel ban.

A travel ban is a common penalty in Saudi Arabia for those who are believed to be stirring political unrest.

On Twitter, there have been messages of support from Saudi tweeters for Iman Qahtani, as well as fears expressed that the government’s campaign to silence critical voices is intensifying.


Read more:

BBC news


10 Responses

  1. Interesting how it is considered a punishment to forbid someone from LEAVING KSA… speaks volumes as to what the government thinks about its own country.

  2. Woehahahahaaa! That was exactly what I was thinking! Other countries throw people they don’t like out, but KSA knows the worst thing they can do to somebody is keep them in!
    East Germany comes to mind, they had to build the iron curtain to keep the entire population from fleeing the communist utopia.

  3. What a sad state of affairs. Good post, Donna! Too bad Saudi wouldn’t open it’s doors to all the Muslim Brotherhood members and followers. Lock ’em up in one place and let the rest of the ME be free.

  4. So what else is new NEWS from Saudi Arabia :)-

  5. Saudi Arabia will always try to keep their people down. Amazing how the royal family is so corrupt and immoral. They go to Morocco with a whole fleet of cars and entourage, spend $50,000 on prostitutes, drink alcohol and then go back to their country to see to it that adulterers have their heads cut off and other people can’t leave the country. Such a hypocritical government they have based on a religion. I don’t understand how anybody would really want to live there myself.

  6. Poor lady having to stay there.

  7. Looking back at history, I wonder who the “religious leaders” are that may be “controlling” the royal family, in a manner similar to the Popes of Rome, up to the 16th Century when Henry VIII defied the Pope. No human being can truly speak for our Creator! Interpretations of Scriptures are just “human understandings” of Creator inspired words. I agree with Penny”s comment, also.

  8. The Saudi regime continues to be authoritarian but this policy of oppression and muzzling voices does not work at a time when people continue to speak up and demand their rights ….

  9. too bad for them , the internet is here to stay. technology is going forward not backward, cant replicate the 17th century unfortunately for them.
    They’ll have to give in one day or the other.

  10. Insha’alla, Rahda. Insha’alla. 🙂

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