Saudi activist and Twitter user, Reema Al Joresh, was briefly arrested earlier today (August 19, 2012) when she was on her way to a mosque to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that follows Ramadan. Al Joresh is an outspoken critic of Saudi interior ministry's arbitrary detentions. Moreover, she is the wife of a prisoner who has been detained for eight years without a trial.
She was planning to give away 500 gifts that contain a letter to raise awareness about the issue of arbitrary detention in Saudi Arabia.
At 5:11 AM (Saudi time), Al Joresh tweeted [ar]:
السلام عليكم الشرطة مسكونا انا وعيالي
Greetings, the police arrested me and my children.
Photo posted by Reema Al Joresh on Twitter as she tweeted: We have been arrested [ar]
A hashtag was immediately started by Saudi Twitter users, who expressed their frustration.
Abdulaziz al-Shihri tweeted:
المباحث لا مروءة أهل الجاهلية ولا أخلاق أهل الإسلام ، اللهم أرحنا من هذا الجهاز كما أرحت المصريين من أمن الدولة #ريما_الجريش
“Secret police do not have either pre-Islam generosity, nor post-Islam ethics. Oh God, let us rest – like the Egyptians – by not having them.”
Mohammad al-Ogaimi added:
#ريما_الجريش كان يتابعها 800 والآن 2100 .. بقمعك يصل صوتك أكثر ..
She was followed by 800 people, now they are 2100. With your oppression, their voice will go even further.
The comment refers to the number of followers Al Joresh had on Twitter. At the time of writing this post, they have multiplied to around 3,500 and growing.
Screen shot showing Al Joresh's followers on Twitter
When Reema was released, she wrote a series of tweets explaining what had happened:
At 4:30am, I headed to the Eid mosque with my gifts. About 100 meters away from my house, a car tried to stop us and they pointed machine guns at us. My daughter Sara said to them: “You have stolen my father and now you are coming to steal us?”. They tried to silence my [other] daughter Marya, who was crying. They got my son Mo'ath and the driver out of the car then a policeman tried to take my phone, but Mo'ath told him to keep his hands off me [...] they took the gifts and [...] a policeman came in the front seat and told the driver to go to the General Intelligence office in Buraidah. For an hour, they questioned me and tried to look for explosives within those boxes [...] They told me to write down my confession.