One of several journalists detained in April 2019, Mohammed al-Sadiq wrote about politics, economics, and sectarianism. No charges against him have been disclosed.
Al-Sadiq wrote for Qatari-funded, U.K.-based outlet Al-Arabi al-Jadeed about a range of topics, including sectarianism, regional politics, and economic and class issues in Saudi Arabia. He wrote extensively about Shi’a identity and political Islam in the Arab world and also analyzed different views of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” reform plan for Saudi Arabia, according to a CPJ review of the site.
Saudi authorities have censored Qatari media outlets and demanded their closure since the countries’ diplomatic relations began to deteriorate in 2017, CPJ has reported.
Al-Sadiq had also been active with the movement to end the ban on women driving, according to The New York Times.
His arrest was part of a wave of detentions in Saudi Arabia in spring 2019 targeting journalists and bloggers. The Washington Postreported that the detained bloggers and journalists—along with other writers and activists detained around the same time—were not considered especially high-profile or outspoken.
As of September 2020, al-Sadiq was being held at Al-Hair Prison in Riyadh, according to Al-Qst. According to Al-Qst’s website, al-Sadiq appeared before an unspecified court on September 30, 2020, alongside a number of other detained journalists and activists. The next court session is scheduled to take place December 21. Al-Qst did not say whether the journalists were formally charged during the September session. CPJ could not determine the state of al-Sadiq’s health in prison.
In October 2020, CPJ emailed the spokesperson and the media office for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. for comment about journalists held in Saudi prisons, including al-Sadiq, but received automated messages that the emails were not delivered. The same month, CPJ also sent a request for comment to an email listed on the website of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Royal Court, but received a message saying the address did not exist. CPJ also emailed the Saudi Ministry of Media and sent a message through the website of the Saudi Center for International Communication, but neither request was returned.