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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Samar Badawi

Detained: July 30, 2018.

Charges: No official charges.

Sentence: Not yet sentenced.

Biography: Samar Badawi is a prominent human rights activist and mother of two, who has been repeatedly targeted and interrogated by Saudi Arabian authorities, solely for her human rights activism. She is also the sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi. From 2008 – 2010, Samar challenged the male guardianship system when she tried leaving her abusive father and was charged with “disobedience.” In 2010  Samar filed a “Adhl” case against her father to remove him as her guardian so that she could marry human rights lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair. She was arrested for her outstanding arrest warrant for “disobedience” and spent more than six months in prison.

In 2011 Samar started legal actions to ensure women’s right to vote. She filed numerous lawsuits and used the Arab Charter for Human Rights to challenge the court’s rulings. In 2011 and 2012 Samar joined the Women’s Driving Campaign and challenged the governments legal basis for rejecting her driver's license application. She helped other women when they were arrested or faced court proceedings for defying the driving ban. These courageous acts led to her receiving the 2012 International Women of Courage Award by the US State Department.  

In 2014 Samar participated in side events at the UN Human Rights Council and then went to the US and met with Senators and the Secretary of State. Because of this human rights work the Saudi government imposed a travel ban on her. Samar was the target of several arbitrary arrests, interrogations, and harassment throughout 2016 and 2017.

On July 30, 2018 security forces arrested Samar Badawi. She is being held incommunicado and without charges. 

She is one of many formerly Detained Women's Rights Activists in Saudi Arabia.

Advocate: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)

Advocacy Partner: Amnesty International