by Kareem Chehayeb, AlJazeera, June 2019

Three Saudi clerics reportedly on death row and dozens of activists are believed to have endured brutal treatment.

Days after Saudi Arabia announced it would allow women to drive in September 2017, blogger and activist Eman al-Nafjan wrote an uplifting column on CNN. 

Praising the tenacity of women’s rights activists such as Loujain al-Hathloul, she said: “Other issues seem conquerable. The biggest issue at the moment is the guardianship system.”

Eight months later, al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, and other women’s rights activists and male allies were arrested.

They became victims of a widespread online and offline smear campaign, accusing them of trying to destabilise the country and incite public opinion

Since their arrest, there have been allegations of prisoners being tortured - with reports of lashings and electric shocks while in custody. Click To Tweet

While general prisons are run by the Ministry of Interior, maximum security prisons are headed by the police agency of the Presidency of the State Security, commonly known as the Mabahith.

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