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Demonstrators urge Saudi authorities to release jailed women's rights blogger Eman Al Nafjan and activists Loujain al-Hathloul and Aziza al-Yousef outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Paris on March 8, 2019. Today, Al Nafjan and two activists were released from prison. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

CPJ welcomes release of Saudi blogger after 10 months, calls for charges to be dropped

March 28, 2019 3:32 PM ET

New York, March 28, 2019 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomed the release of Saudiwoman's Weblog founder Eman Al Nafjan, and called on Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all other journalists in custody.

Al Nafjan had been detained since May 2018 following a crackdown on women's rights activists in the country, according to news reports. According to The Associated Press and the U.K.-based Saudi human rights organization Al-Qst, Al Nafjan was one of three detainees released today following their appearance before a judicial panel in Riyadh yesterday.

"Saudi authorities stole nearly a year of Eman Al Nafjan's life, and they are still trying to keep her silent by prosecuting her for her critical writing," said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna. "It will take many more steps - such as freeing all journalists in custody without charge or conditions - before anybody even begins to take seriously Saudi claims of reform."

AFP Arabic reported that Al Nafjan and the two activists must appear before the court again on April 3 to continue their trial, citing family sources. CPJ was unable to confirm any conditions pertaining to their release.

Al Nafjan was one of 16 journalists detained by Saudi Arabia as of December 1, 2018, according to CPJ research. At least three other female journalists are among those still imprisoned.

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