Saudi activist and journalist Iman AlQahtani was denied the right to leave Saudi Arabia. She announced that in a tweet late last night, after being prevented from traveling to Turkey.
Al-Qahtani is an outspoken human rights activist and journalist. She has drawn the state's attention after expressing her strong support for Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and their organization The Association for Civil and Political Rights, during their trial for “breaking allegiance to the ruler and his successor” and “trying to impede the country’s developments”. Earlier this year, they had been sentenced to 11 and 10 years in prison respectively.
On Twitter, she announced [ar]:
حاولت الخروج قبل قليل من مطار الدمام إلى إسطنبول فتم منعي من السفر وإخباري بالمنع وبالانتظار في مكتب جوازات المطار
— Iman ALQahtani (@ImaQh) July 19, 2013
I was traveling from Dammam Airport to Istanbul and I was forbidden to travel. I have been informed of my travel ban, then asked to wait at the passport office.
She has previously been subjected to harassment by security forces for her online activities and reporting on human rights. After her live-tweeting of the trials of the two activists, a judge had ordered her arrest for “providing false information to the court” but the arrest was later canceled.
On Twitter, netizens discussed Al Qahtani's travel ban under the hashtag #منع_ايمان_القحطاني_من_السفر which translates to Iman Al Qahtani banned from traveling.
Ms Reem comments [ar]:
#منع_ايمان_القحطاني_من_السفر أعتقال ومنع واقصاء وقمع وفساد وبطالة وفقر وبؤس .. الى اين يا وطني ؟!!
— MissReem (@ReemQh) July 19, 2013
Arrests, travel bans, oppression, corruption, unemployment, poverty and misery. Where is my country heading to?
Dr Mohamed explains that travel bans are common in Saudi Arabia:
— Dȓ.Mohamd (MD.MBA) ♈ (@DrMohG) July 19, 2013
While Fawaz Ahmed reasons that such bans are no longer useful:
#منع_ايمان_القحطاني_من_السفر مايزال النظام يتعامل بسلطوية وسياسه القمع وتكميم الأفواه ماعاد ينفع في زمن أصبح المواطن يتحدث ويطالب بحقه
— سنيار (@FAWAZAHMED7) July 19, 2013
The Saudi regime continues to be authoritarian but this policy of oppression and muzzling voices does not work at a time when people continue to speak up and demand their rights