Nouf Abdulaziz

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Abdulaziz was arrested on June 6, 2018, according to the International Federation for Human Rights and the Gulf Center for Human Rights. IFHR reported that she was detained at her home in Riyadh in a police raid, but it was not clear which branch of the police or security services detained her. Both outlets reported that Abdulaziz was being held incommunicado in an unknown location. Hana Al-Khamri, a journalist who knows Abdulaziz, published a letter from Abdulaziz that the blogger wanted posted in the event of her arrest.

Abdulaziz wrote on her blog about women's rights, Saudi detainees in Iraq, reform activists on trial and politically motivated arrests in the kingdom, according to the blog, accessed via the Internet Wayback Machine. Yahya Assiri, director of the Saudi-focused human rights organization Al-Qst, told CPJ that Abdulaziz had previously written for the newspapers Al-Sharq and Noon, and also worked as a producer for the television program "Al-Majd." Assiri and Al-Khamri both told CPJ separately that Abdulaziz had been forced to stop writing her column because of pressure from authorities, but neither specified when this happened.

As of late 2018, CPJ could not determine where Abdulaziz was being held, her health conditions, or the charges against her. As of late 2018, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C., had not responded to a request for comment for more information on Abdulaziz's detention.

Abdulaziz's arrest also came as part of a broader wave of arrests aimed at activists who campaigned against the ban on women driving and pushed for gender equality in the kingdom. Beginning in May 2018 and continuing since, Saudi authorities began detaining prominent figures in the movement, even as Salman lifted the ban on June 24. In November 2018, Human Rights Watch and the Washington Post both reported that Saudi authorities tortured at least three of the women detained in the wave of arrests with electric shocks and floggings, and that at least one of the women tried to commit suicide in detention. According to the Wall Street Journal, at least one of the women in Saudi custody was sexually assaulted.

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