Redha al-Boori is one of several journalists detained by Saudi authorities in April 2019. He had previously written about regional politics but like others arrested around the same time, he had not been active recently. Al-Boori had written for the website of Thumar al-Marzouqi, a Saudi writer also detained around the same time.
Al-Boori was arrested April 9, 2019, according to a statement and Twitter posts by the London-based Saudi rights organization Al-Qst and a statement by the Beirut-based rights organization Gulf Centre for Human Rights.
Al-Boori had previously written about regional politics, but a CPJ review of his work indicated he had not been active for several years. Al-Boori, along with several other of the detainees, had been connected with Saudi writer al-Marzouqi. He wrote an academic paper for al-Marzouqi’s website in 2015 and had also written a series of op-eds for the Lebanese privately owned newspaper Al-Akhbar analyzing the role of Hezbollah and sectarianism in the Syria conflict in 2014, according to a CPJ review of his writing on the site.
His arrest was part of a wave of detentions in Saudi Arabia in spring 2019 targeting journalists and bloggers who had written about a range of cultural, economic, political, and social issues and who in many cases had not been active for years. The Washington Post reported that the detained 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-Boori was being held at Al-Mabahith prison in Dammam, according to Al-Qst. According to Al-Qst’s website, al-Boori 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-Boori’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-Boori, 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.