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Families of Saudi's ‘Arbitrarily Imprisoned’ Protest from Home

Pictures of their imprisoned loved ones hung outside their homes, to remind everyone of their plight and to mark the Second Detainees Day on June 7, 2013, an event called for by anonymous advocacy groups @e3teqal and @almonaseron to protest arbitrary detainment in the Saudi absolute monarchy.

Independent human rights sources say that there are over 30,000 arbitrarily imprisoned people [ar], many of whom were arrested in the massive, post-9/11 “war on terrorism”. The detainees were arrested without a warrant and have not had access to lawyers and trial. Protests in Saudi Arabia are strictly prohibited and participants risk spending many months in prison if they get caught, this has enabled new forms for publicly displaying dissent.

The First Detainees Day took place on May 25, 2013 in which many brochures were distributed anonymously to call for an end to arbitrary detainment. In addition, families chose to hang large photographs of their detained relatives on their houses, a practice which inspired even many more families to follow suit on the second day.

Photo of human rights activist Houd al-Aqeel displayed on his house. via @khawlah20

Photo of human rights activist Houd al-Aqeel displayed on his house. via @khawlah20

In the early morning, three women were reportedly arrested [ar] while trying to hang a protest banner in Saudi capital, Riyadh. They were held for 18 hours and then released [ar]. The family of the president of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, Suliman al-Rashoudi, who was arrested back in December, hung his photo on their house, with a banner that says “Release reformist and lawyer Suliman al-Rashoudi.”

The Saudi Arabian city of Buraidah also had notable participation in the event. Banners were hung on public bridges. And many houses participated in hanging photos.

Police forces surrounded several houses that had detainees’ photos, including the house of human rights activist Houd al-Aqeel (pictured on right). They also reportedly arrested [ar] a detainee's brother to force his family to remove a photo.

In addition, many flyers were distributed that call for an end to arbitrary detainment.

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