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Saudi Arabia: Writer and human rights defender Fahad al-Fahad detained

Thursday 11 October 2018 - 10:49am

Fahad Al Fahad

RAN 08/18

Available in Arabic : Word and PDF 

11 October 2018 - PEN International is concerned about the detention of prominent writer and human rights activist Fahad al-Fahad. He has been detained since 6 April 2016 on charges related solely to his writing and peaceful activities. In June 2017, the Specialised Criminal Court, Saudi Arabia’s “terrorism tribunal”, sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment, a ten-year travel ban and a ban on writing and media work.

 According to reports, “the judgment does not indicate the length of the ban on writing, but the Saudi judge said in the courtroom that the ban was for life”. The changes against al-Fahad include “violating the Saudi cybercrime law via tweets criticising the Saudi criminal justice system and government corruption” and “inciting hostility against the state, its structure, and its justice systems”.

 PEN calls on the Saudi authorities to immediately release al-Fahad and all other writers currently detained in Saudi Arabia in connection with the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly, in accordance with international standards including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Please send appeals:

  • Urging the Saudi Arabian authorities to release Fahad al-Fahad and all other activists held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression;
  • Calling for al-Fahad’s sentence of imprisonment as well as the ban on writing and travel to be overturned immediately as they violate his basic human rights;
  • Calling on Saudi Arabia to ratify, without reservation, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Appeals to:

King and Prime Minister His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

 The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques

Office of His Majesty The King Royal Court, Riyadh - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

 Fax: (via Ministry of Interior) +966 11 403 3125 Twitter: @KingSalman

Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of Justice

 His Excellency Dr. Walid Bin Muhammad Al-Samaani

Ministry of Justice, P.O. Box: 7775

Postal Code: 11427

Riyadh - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: +966114057777

E-mail : Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Interior

His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif

 Ministry of the Interior P.O. Box 2933,

Airport Road, Riyadh 11134 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: +966 11 403 3125 Twitter: @MOISaudiArabia

Salutation: Your Highness

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Saudi Arabia in your country if possible

Please send us copies of any appeals you send and of any responses you receive***


Fahad al-Fahad is a well-known Saudi activist. He is member of several human rights groups, such as Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi (MHRSA), and has denounced freedom of expression violations in Saudi Arabia at public events. Al-Fahad has written about civil and political rights and the crackdown on Saudi activists.

The situation for freedom of expression and opinion in Saudi Arabia has recently deteriorated with writers and activists being arrested and arbitrarily detained. PEN International has long been campaigning for the release of writers in Saudi Arabia, including blogger Raif Badawi, writer Nadhir al-Majid, and lawyer and activist Waleed Abulkhair. Writers from elsewhere, including Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh and Yemeni social media activist Marwan Almuraisy, are also among those detained.

PEN continues to call on the Saudi authorities to protect the rights of all individuals to freely express their views, whether as citizens or foreigners, as protected under international human rights standards.

Click here to read our statement on dissident Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi wo disappeared after visit to Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

 Click  here to read PEN International's joint submission to the United Nations on the situation of freedom of expression and writers at risk in Saudi Arabia through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism.

For any further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: