Adel Benaimah was arrested in September 2017, according to the human rights organization Al-Qst and Qatari-based Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera did not specify a date, while Al-Qst said he was arrested September 12.
Benaimah wrote frequently on his website opining about religious topics, such as Islamic banking and the linguistics of the Quran, and also commented on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including in a column in which he defended Hamas and the group's firing of rockets at Israel, according to a CPJ review of his site. According to Benaimah's CV, he was also the editor of the monthly cultural magazine Al-Jisr and a presenter on several TV and radio programs, including the program "Afaq" on MBC FM, and the program "Ashwaq" on the TV channel al-Resalah, as well as a professor of Arabic and a preacher at local mosques.
Under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia's minister of defense, the kingdom has become increasingly close strategically to Israel, and Hamas is proscribed as a terrorist group by Saudi authorities since 2014, according to news reports.
In a February 2018 report for the online newspaper Anha, Benaimah claimed he had not been subject to ill treatment and that his conditions of his imprisonment were good. According to the article, Benaimah was being held in Dhahban prison.
CPJ could not determine if any charges had been filed against Benaimah. As of late 2018, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C., had not responded to CPJ's email seeking comment on his health conditions or charges against him.
Benaimah was not included in CPJ's 2017 prison census because at the time, CPJ was not able to confirm his name among the detainees or his work as a journalist.