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Political Detainee Naima Al-Matroud is at Risk

The Saudi regime has not only deprived her of her freedom and punished her for using her right to expression, but it is now depriving her of her most basic rights to obtain health care and to live in a clean environment.

Naima Al-Matrod, 40, is a Saudi activist who has been held behind bars for more than five years. She was arrested in April 2016 for defending prisoners of conscience and activists and calling for respecting their right to freedom of expression.

She was imprisoned after criticizing the policies of the authorities and calling to apply the principles of democracy and the promotion of the right to peaceful assembly.

Al-Matrood’s health condition has deteriorated significantly since 2019, as she suffers from anemia and her condition requires certain living conditions as well as special medicines and food.

The Saudi authorities have ignored repeated human rights demands to release Naima since her continued imprisonment poses a threat to her life.

Some had hoped that she would be released with the spread of the Corona pandemic as many organizations around the world called to reduce the number of prisoners, especially since some of them do not pose a threat to society outside of prison, yet the authorities insisted on keeping them arbitrarily detained.

After her arrest in 2016, the Public Prosecution demanded a 20 years imprisonment sentence for Naima Al-Matrod, in accordance with Royal Decree A/44, of the terrorism crimes and the anti-terrorism law. it demanded also her imprisonment for 5 more years and a fine of $800,000 under Article 6 of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, in addition to banning her from traveling, although she did not do anything other than defending the rights of detainees.

On November 8, 2017, she was sentenced to six years in prison followed by a travel ban for another six years in a political and arbitrary trial that lacked justice.

Naima Al-Matrod is one of the most prominent human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, as she spent years defending the rights of those who suffered from violations at the hands of the Saudi authorities in the wake of the 2011 movement in Qatif and Al-Ahsa. She was arrested in February 2016 while leaving her work at A checkpoint between the city of Dammam and its city of Saihat, and she was released two days later, only to be re-arrested on April 13, 2016, as she was summoned by the General Investigation Directorate in Dammam, allegedly for interrogation, however, she was not released since then.

We, in Together for Justice, hold the Saudi authorities fully responsible for the health and safety of Naima Al-Matrod, guaranteed by international conventions, as the United Nations states that all prisoners and detainees have the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and that prisoners should enjoy free access to health services available in the country.

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