Saudi Arabia Arrests Samar Badawi for Tweeting on Behalf of Her Jailed Husband

Human rights defender Samar Badawi has been arrested in Saudi Arabia reportedly for tweeting on behalf of her husband, jailed human rights activist and lawyer Waleed Abulkhair. Photograph shared by her sister in law Ensaf Haidar (@miss9afi) on Twitter

Human rights defender Samar Badawi has been arrested in Saudi Arabia reportedly for tweeting on behalf of her husband, jailed human rights activist and lawyer Waleed Abulkhair. Photograph shared by her sister in law Ensaf Haidar (@miss9afi) on Twitter

Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi was arrested on January 12, 2016, allegedly for running the Twitter account of her jailed husband, Waleed Abulkhair, a leading Saudi human rights lawyer and defender.

In July 2014, Abulkhair was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was convicted under a new anti-terrorism law for “insulting general order” and “inflaming public opinion”. His Twitter account, @WaleedAbulkhair, which Badawi is accused of running, has 82.5K followers — and continued to run even after her arrest.

Samar Badawi is the sister of liberal blogger Raif Badawi, who was famously sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison in Saudi for “insulting Islam.” The news of Samar Badawi's arrest was reported on Twitter by her sister-in-law, Ensaf Haidar.

Haidar writes:

And adds:

Badawi's arrest was condemned by netizens around the world, including human rights defenders and journalists (link leads to Arabic-language petition) who called on the Saudi authorities to unconditionally release her. UPDATE [posted 1/13/2016 at 15:06 GMT]: Badawi was reportedly released on bail several hours after her arrest, and is currently facing interrogation by police.

Saudi Elham Al Manea describes Badawi's arrest as “unwise,” saying it would push Saudis to revolt using force:

Blogger Eman Al Najfan writes:

And from Canada, JSheehan urges people to read Raif Badawi's book entitled “1,000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think”:

Others, like Maysaa Al Amoudi, shared one of Badawi's recent tweets saying:

In that tweet, Badawi wrote:

Silence is killing us but we are steadfast

But Badawi's arrest isn't keeping many Saudis silent. This anonymous user tweets:

Repression is increasing, corruption and theft is record high and haphazard decisions are on the rise. Nothing is decreasing in this country except for our freedoms and dignity.

Another Twitter user prays for God's wrath on those who committed injustice against Badawi. He tweets:

Her husband is in prison. And now she is in prison. And their daughter is today lonely, without a mother and a father. May God's wrath be on those who commit injustice.

And this netizen is afraid to breathe:

We live in a country where we are afraid to breathe.

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