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Souad Al-Shammary

Souad Al- Shammary

HRD, Head
Saudi Liberal Network

Souad Al- Shammary is a prominent activist who advocates for women's rights and is well-known for her opposition to the country’s guardianship system which subordinates women’s autonomy to the authority of male guardians. She is the head of the Saudi Liberal Network and a member of the Arab Coalition for Freedom and Democracy.

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.

New anti-terrorism legislation enacted in 2014 has been used to target human rights defenders and government critics. Some received harsh sentences by an anti-terrorism court, including lenghty prison terms. The government targeted online activists and family members who reported on human rights violations. Due process and fair trial rights are often not respected. Defendants are commonly sentenced to floggings of hundreds of lashes.