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Mohammed Al-Otaibi


Mohammed Al-Otaibi is known in Saudi Arabia for his human rights work. He worked specifically to promote the rights of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip at the outset of 2009, when he was arrested for the first time by Saudi Authorities. The human rights defender remained in prison for almost three years and seven months following his arrest. After his release, Mohammed Al-Otaibi co-founded the Union for Human Rights in Riyadh in 2013 which had several objectives, including the abolition of the death penalty and strengthening women’s role in society in Saudi Arabia. He worked with the organisation for three years despite constant harassment by the Saudi government for issuing international appeals to highlight human rights violations committed by the Saudi government.

Human rights defenders, activists and individuals who criticise government policies or express dissent or diverging opinion to those of the authorities are subjected to harassment, surveillance, arbitrary detention, smear campaigns, prolonged and unfair trials. Family members of HRDs are also targeted and subjected to intimidation and harassment at the hands of the authorities.

Human rights organisations and independent groups are not permitted to operate legally in the country. This places members at risk of prosecution for “setting up an unregistered organisation.” An associations law that would allow non-charity organisations to operate was spoken of, but not passed in 2014.