Lebanese Musician Samir Sfeir kidnapped by Saudi Authorities.

Reason behind kidnapping Samir Sfeir

  • Political

    Votes: 8 61.5%
  • Security

    Votes: 3 23.1%
  • Both

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    13

JustLeb

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter

Saudi Crown Prince’s Crackdown Spurs New Generation of Activists

Arrests in Saudi Arabia swell the ranks of public critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Public pressure from the family of a Saudi women’s rights activist who was jailed is emboldening the relatives of other detainees to speak out, swelling the ranks of critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on perceived opponents.

By
Stephen Kalin
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and
Summer Said
in Dubai

Updated May 17, 2021 4:53 pm ET

In 2018, Loujain al-Hathloul, who campaigned on women’s issues and had fought Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, was arrested. It came just months before the curb was lifted as part of social reforms implemented by Prince Mohammed, known as MBS.

Ms. Hathloul’s family initially stayed quiet after her arrest, hoping for a private resolution. But in 2019 they began speaking out, after she told them she had been tortured in a secret prison by a royal adviser and only escaped rape because a captor intervened.


im-331032

Loujain al-Hathloul in 2014, before her arrest.​

PHOTO: LOUJAIN AL-HATHLOUL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
A Saudi official dismissed allegations that Ms. Hathloul and other detainees had been tortured, cut off from their families or held without trial.
“The judiciary in the Kingdom is independent and any person who violates the law will be held accountable and will be provided with their full rights,” the official said.
Cable television appearances by Ms. Hathloul’s family and opinion pieces in American and British newspapers elevated her profile; President Biden praised her release on parole in February. Her siblings said that pledges she had to sign before leaving prison had muzzled her, but that they were maintaining pressure from overseas.

They are a core part of a new group of activists who are leveraging international media and lobbying Western governments to try to influence policy in Riyadh. Many were previously apolitical, but no longer see value in navigating government backchannels to extricate loved ones. Since 2017, at least 10 people who have had family members detained have become activists, according to a Wall Street Journal tally. Most of the new activists live in relative safety abroad.
“When we realized that our silence led nowhere, we decided to speak, louder and louder every day,” said Ms. Hathloul’s brother, Walid al-Hathloul, who lives in Toronto.


im-331035

Loujain al-Hathloul at home in Saudi Arabia, following her release from prison.

PHOTO: FAMILY OF SAUDI ACTIVIST LOUJAIN/REUTERS

After entering the line of succession six years ago, MBS suppressed outspoken voices in local newspapers and on social media. Starting in 2017, he launched waves of arrests targeting conservative clerics, women’s rights activists and intellectuals who criticized economic or foreign policy.
Activists say he closed off traditional avenues for negotiating detainees’ releases. The 2018 killing of former royal insider Jamal Khashoggi, who lambasted the prince in Washington Post columns, invigorated Saudis previously cowed into silence. A U.S. intelligence report implicated MBS, who has denied he ordered the killing but said he took ultimate responsibility as the kingdom’s de facto leader.
After steadfast support from the Trump administration, Mr. Biden has set about revamping policy toward Saudi Arabia, though MBS has said there is agreement “on more than 90%” of bilateral issues. Mr. Biden has ordered a review of relations with the kingdom that includes arms sales, the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen and an assessment of whether the U.S. has done enough to hold Saudi officials responsible for the Khashoggi killing.
The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court released Ms. Hathloul weeks into the Biden administration, after convicting her in December on terrorism-related charges in a closed-door trial. These days, her siblings face online harassment, including misogynistic and racist attacks.
The siblings continue to speak out on behalf of Ms. Hathloul and other detainees, like Abdulrahman al-Sadhan, a U.S.-educated aid worker snatched by unidentified men from his Riyadh office in 2018. It took his family weeks to confirm that security forces were holding him. They later received reports of torture from relatives of detainees held with him.
After a year’s silence, Mr. Sadhan’s sister, Areej al-Sadhan, living in California, spoke to a British newspaper. She said the decision to go public was precipitated by Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and the torture allegations presented by Ms. Hathloul’s family.

im-333113

Abdulrahman al-Sadhan with his sister Areej at his university graduation in California in 2013.

“All the doors were closing in our faces,” she said.
A year after Ms. Sadhan spoke to the newspaper, her brother called home for the first time. He was sentenced in April to 20 years in prison, plus a further 20-year travel ban.
The only evidence presented in his closed-door trial, Mr. Sadhan said, according to his sister, was tweets critical of the government that he allegedly published from an account satirizing Islamist extremists.

A court document seen by the Journal showed he was convicted of terrorist financing, supporting Islamic State and inciting violence against foreign soldiers.
The Saudi official said Mr. Sadhan had admitted in court that he believed in the ideas outlined on his Twitter account, and had confessed to supporting terrorism. The official said Mr. Sadhan had been allowed family visits and phone calls since his arrest, but refused to communicate with them until recently “on the pretext that he did not want them to know that he was arrested for a terrorism-related case.”
Ms. Sadhan said her family was told previously that her brother wasn’t allowed calls or visits while under investigation. She denied the accusations against him, saying the court had ignored his rebuttals and legal defense, and accused the government of using terrorism as a catchall accusation for any public criticism.
After she began speaking publicly, other Saudis sought her help getting their own relatives out of prison. She is considering a new career in human rights law to try to press changes to Saudi Arabia’s legal system.
Her apparent success in securing a phone call from her brother is what pushed Malik al-Dweish to discuss his father’s case with the Journal from inside Saudi Arabia, despite the risk of retribution.

“I see the result of silence and the result of speaking,” said Mr. Dweish. “When someone gets attention, it scares them.”
His father, a Muslim cleric called Suleiman al-Dweish, had links to MBS’s predecessor, former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was ousted in 2017 and detained last year for allegedly plotting a coup.
Malik al-Dweish said his father was taken from a Mecca hotel in 2016 after tweeting a sermon that appeared to insult MBS with an allegory of an insolent child spoiled by his father.
The younger Mr. Dweish said he pursued the case through high-level security and royal family contacts, without success. The authorities told him his father had gone to Syria to join Islamic State. He said he was unconvinced as his father’s passport remained in his possession.
After seeing how the cases of Ms. Hathloul and Mr. Sadhan progressed following media coverage, Mr. Dweish decided to break his silence too. He recounted how government contacts and families of other detainees said his father had been imprisoned in a palace dungeon and beaten on the orders of the prince.
The Saudi official said claims about the older Mr. Dweish’s detention were baseless and that unnamed intelligence sources indicated he had been smuggled out of the country illegally: “His whereabouts are currently unknown and available information indicates he joined an extremist group in Syria.”

im-331044

A photograph of Abdulaziz al-Dukheil on his son’s phone.

PHOTO: AGNÈS DHERBEYS/MYOP FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Like Malik al-Dweish, Abdulhakim al-Dukheil was motivated by the public stances struck by other relatives of detainees to speak out. His father, a former senior finance ministry official called Abdulaziz al-Dukheil, was arrested last year after tweeting condolences for a deceased human rights activist.
Abdulhakim al-Dukheil, who lives in France, wrote in USA Today in March that he stayed silent for months believing it would expedite his father’s release, but that the time had come for him to join other Saudis calling for their relatives’ freedom. He has since established an organization in the U.S. to help finance legal costs for detainees’ families.
The Saudi official said the older Mr. Dukheil was arrested for committing an unspecified crime and sentenced to 14 months in prison, but could be released within a month. He said the younger Mr. Dukheil was “an imposter…who is posing” as the former finance ministry official’s son.

Abdulhakim al-Dukheil said he was the only son of Abdulaziz al-Dukheil’s second wife. Other family members couldn't be reached.

View attachment 23638Abdulhakim al-Dukheil in France. His father was arrested in Saudi Arabia last year.

rafi2 Viral yelli bayto men 2ezez ma byersho2 el 3alam bel 7jar!!
how many times your wonderful 3ahed arrested lebanese because their tweets ?
can you count them for me please???
Aw you don't see these people, you only see people of your camp?!!
time to wake up dude ;)
 

Patriot

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
rafi2 Viral yelli bayto men 2ezez ma byersho2 el 3alam bel 7jar!!
how many times your wonderful 3ahed arrested lebanese because their tweets ?
can you count them for me please???
Aw you don't see these people, you only see people of your camp?!!
time to wake up dude ;)

Actually the Saudis were a lot more civil

Don't you remember what happened with Pierre Hachach ?
they burned his beach hut twice
they destroyed his car twice or three times
they attacked him with a knife in a restaurant
and lastly they tried to break into his house
nobody was punished for all of the above

and that's putting aside all the threats he received, the countless nights he spent b makhfar el batroun and all the pages facebook closed due to mass reports from their internet army
all because he writes his opinion on facebook.
 

JustLeb

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Actually the Saudis were even more civil

Don't you remember what happened with Pierre Hachach ?
they burned his beach hut twice
they destroyed his car twice or three times
they attacked him with a knife in a restaurant
and lastly they tried to break into his house
nobody was punished for all of the above

and that's putting aside all the threats he received, the countless nights he spent b makhfar el batroun and all the pages facebook closed due to mass reports from their internet army
all because he writes his opinion on facebook.
I am talking about the official arrest, not about the militia
The official arrests were many, I don't remember all the names, but one stuck was hanady gerges
Some of Fer2et el Za2iifeh claimed the Aoun was not aware of, it was the amen 3am applying the law :D
now I tend to believe them, since many things, way more important, Aoun was not aware of, starting with Beirut Port Explosion. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
Actually the Saudis were a lot more civil
Compared to what they did to Khashoggi, arguably I can see progress especially that those inferior creatures called “women” can drive a car now and eventually will be able to buy an airline ticket and book a hotel room on their own… Love is in the air baby…
 

NewLeb

Active Member
Compared to what they did to Khashoggi, arguably I can see progress especially that those inferior creatures called “women” can drive a car now and eventually will be able to buy an airline ticket and book a hotel room on their own… Love is in the air baby…

Women driving cars is not progress, silly bean- it’s retardation at best....
 

HalaMadrid

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
rafi2 Viral yelli bayto men 2ezez ma byersho2 el 3alam bel 7jar!!
how many times your wonderful 3ahed arrested lebanese because their tweets ?
can you count them for me please???
Aw you don't see these people, you only see people of your camp?!!
time to wake up dude ;)
You're not being serious in making the comparison, right? I disagree with these stupid laws that criminalize speech and I think judges should uniformly stop enforcing them, parliament should change them, politicians and public figures should stop suing over them, and no one should spend a single moment in an interrogation room or jail for what they say. But you're not being serious to compare this to how activist languish in Saudi jails for years, right? It's not comparable to spending a few hours in a farcical interrogation and being released. Unless people are actually arrested, charged, held indefinitely or tried in politicized courts, etc. in Lebanon and I'm missing that? I think Hanady was arrested for 3 days or so, egregious and shouldn't have happened. Most activists arrested are released within a few hours. Compare that to Loujain el Halthloul (one of the very many) who spent several years in detention before she was even put on trial. The comparison doesn't hold up.
 

Viral

Well-Known Member
Samir Sfeir will be in Lebanon with his wife next Thursday around 3PM. His arrest was based on his political views. He’s still held at Shmeisi prison awaiting his official release to be sent directly to the airport for deportation.
 

JustLeb

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
You're not being serious in making the comparison, right? I disagree with these stupid laws that criminalize speech and I think judges should uniformly stop enforcing them, parliament should change them, politicians and public figures should stop suing over them, and no one should spend a single moment in an interrogation room or jail for what they say. But you're not being serious to compare this to how activist languish in Saudi jails for years, right? It's not comparable to spending a few hours in a farcical interrogation and being released. Unless people are actually arrested, charged, held indefinitely or tried in politicized courts, etc. in Lebanon and I'm missing that? I think Hanady was arrested for 3 days or so, egregious and shouldn't have happened. Most activists arrested are released within a few hours. Compare that to Loujain el Halthloul (one of the very many) who spent several years in detention before she was even put on trial. The comparison doesn't hold up.
it is the same mindset man, if you remember Bassil (as well as fer2et el za2ifeh taba3o) crying when Jean Assi was jailed for 3 days after insulting Sleiman, and did not say a word when Hanadi Gerges was jailed for 2 or 3 days for insulting Aoun.
It is the same mindset the only difference is to what extent they are able to apply it.
PS I am against public insults, I don't condone any of them whether against Sleiman or Aoun, but no one should automatically land in jail because of such tweet.
 

Abotareq93

Legendary Member
Samir Sfeir will be in Lebanon with his wife next Thursday around 3PM. His arrest was based on his political views. He’s still held at Shmeisi prison awaiting his official release to be sent directly to the airport for deportation.
Let's wait for his statements after his release, I am sure they will be interesting
 

Ralph N

Well-Known Member
it is the same mindset man, if you remember Bassil (as well as fer2et el za2ifeh taba3o) crying when Jean Assi was jailed for 3 days after insulting Sleiman, and did not say a word when Hanadi Gerges was jailed for 2 or 3 days for insulting Aoun.
It is the same mindset the only difference is to what extent they are able to apply it.
PS I am against public insults, I don't condone any of them whether against Sleiman or Aoun, but no one should automatically land in jail because of such tweet.
Yes they should, insulting a president cursing him and lying should not pass like its nothing...
Someone on the street if he says something to you or to your wife you may hit him....
....
 

HalaMadrid

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
it is the same mindset man, if you remember Bassil (as well as fer2et el za2ifeh taba3o) crying when Jean Assi was jailed for 3 days after insulting Sleiman, and did not say a word when Hanadi Gerges was jailed for 2 or 3 days for insulting Aoun.
It is the same mindset the only difference is to what extent they are able to apply it.
PS I am against public insults, I don't condone any of them whether against Sleiman or Aoun, but no one should automatically land in jail because of such tweet.
Man, what do you mean same mindset? Them being hypocrites about a principle, which they absolutely are, and being draconian authoritarians is absolutely not the same thing. Also, pretty sure Jean Assy was charged and sentenced before he was actually released, no?

I feel like people believe that the way this works is that Salim Jreissati opens up the Twitter machine every morning and does a name search for "Michel Aoun" and then prints out his faves and brings it over to Aoun and they make check marks on a list of who should be arrested over morning coffee and mna2eesh. As opposed to a few overzealous prosecutors thinking they're enforcing the law or political opponents sending those prosecutors "evidence" that they then have to follow through on.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
سمير صفير بعد وصوله من السعودية الى بيروت: رئيس الجمهورية انقذني



@mikeys71 :

لولا ماكرون ما كان طلع

مش هينة تكون قوات
 

JustLeb

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
It seems there was no other than dikenet ta7sino in receiving Samir Sfeir, not even OTV!!!
it also seems that he will no more be fanatic aounist!!!
he said he didn't change his opinion, but he will change his style,

 
Last edited:

Patriot

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Saudis turned him from Samira to Samir.. congrats on his release :)


Big thanks to Saudi arabia
I encourage all people on this forum or outside to go get some therapy in Riyadh

bonne guerison Samir and welcome back
 
Top