This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 25 October 2018.
After Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that at least 28 other journalists are currently in prison in Saudi Arabia, the victims of an opaque and arbitrary judicial system. RSF is publishing the portraits of the most prominent cases.
Jamal Khashoggi was murdered because he had become a critic of the Saudi regime, and the at least 28 Saudi journalists, columnists and bloggers who are in prison are there for the same reason, because their articles and their online posts annoyed the regime.
Some were jailed when King Salman or his predecessor, King Abdullah were in charge. They include the citizen-journalist Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2012 for “insulting Islam.” Others are the victims of the crackdown launched in the autumn of 2017 by the new crown prince, his son Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).
They include three women who defended women's rights. All three were jailed without any charge being officially announced. Most of the journalists currently detained are awaiting trial.
When a sentence is finally announced, it can be terrible. The religious intellectual and blogger Salman al Awdah was sentenced to death in September. One journalist, the poet Fayez Ben Damakh, has completely disappeared. He has been missing since September 2017, when he was on the point of launching a TV news channel in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti media say he was extradited to Saudi Arabia and was imprisoned there.
RSF is publishing the portraits of some of the imprisoned journalists, columnists and bloggers, including the most prominent ones. RSF points out that the number currently in prison may be more than 28 because of the regime's opaqueness and the difficulty of verifying information.
JAILED BEFORE 2017
Raif Badawi, blogger, founder of the Saudi Liberal Network (an online forum)
Alaa Brinji, journalist for Al-Sharq, El Bilad and Okaz
Waleed Abu al Khair, founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
Nazir al Majid, writer and journalist for various media including Al Hayat et Al Sharq
Fadhel al Manafes, a citizen-journalist and human rights defender
JAILED FROM 2017 ONWARDS
Saleh al Shehi, journalist with Al Watan
Eman al Nafjan, women's rights activist, founder of the Saudi Woman blog
Nouf Abdelaziz al Jerawi, journalist, blogger and activist
Nassema al Sadah (or Nassima al Sada), women's rights activist and columnist
Ali Al Omari, founder of the 4Shabab TV channel
Malek al Ahmad, editor of several media outlets, founder of Al Mohayed ("The Neutral One")
Mohammed Saud al Bishar, reporter and columnist, including for the Saudi newspaper Twasul
Jamil Farsi, businessman and columnist for several Saudi newspapers, including Okaz; much followed on Twitter
Essam Al Zamil, economist and citizen-journalist
Abdullah Al Malki, academic and citizen-journalist
Salman al Awdah (or Salman Ouda), reformist preacher and blogger with many followers