Marwan al-Mureisi

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Authorities arrested al-Mureisi on June 1, 2018, at the Specialized Medical Center Hospital in Riyadh, while he was at the bedside of his five-year-old son, according to Khatab Alrawhani, a Yemeni journalist in Washington, D.C., with knowledge of al-Mureisi's case, citing sources close to al-Mureisi. His arrest was also reported by the human rights organization Al-Qst, which said in a joint statement with other international rights groups that he was arrested at his home.

Alrawhani told CPJ that al-Mureisi's son was left alone in the hospital, and that relatives later received a call of unknown origin telling them to go to the hospital to attend to him.

Al-Mureisi wrote for the privately owned Saudi website al-Sabq and other outlets, as well as posting on his Twitter account and YouTube channel. Alrawhani told CPJ that al-Mureisi did not touch on politics, religion, or sensitive social issues in his reporting, which was mainly technology-focused.

The human rights organization Al-Karama similarly reported that al-Mureisi did not report on politics. The organization said al-Mureisi once appeared on a program hosted by Salman al-Awdah, a television cleric who himself was later detained, and discussed how internet technology can reach the Arab world. In September 2017, authorities under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began an ongoing wave of arrests of perceived dissidents, including journalists, academics, religious figures and activists, that has targeted those who were previously critical of the Saudi government, as well as independent thinkers and writers who did not publicly state their support for the crown prince or his policies.

Alrawhani told CPJ--and Al-Karama, Al-Qst, and other human rights organizations reported--that al-Mureisi's whereabouts are unknown, and that his family has not been permitted to visit him and does not know the charges against him. As of late 2018, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C., had not responded to CPJ's email seeking comment on his whereabouts, charges against him, or health conditions.

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