Death penalty for women’s rights activist in Saudi Arabia

Israa al-Ghomgham, a female activist in Saudi Arabia


In a move that has produced much outrage from proponents of human rights around the globe, Saudi Arabia is seeking the death penalty in the case of a women’s rights activist. Israa al-Ghomgham, a woman in Saudi Arabia, was protesting to fight discrimination against a Muslim minority when she was arrested in 2015 with her husband. According to the Human Rights Watch, she has been charged with things like "attempting to inflame public opinion," "filming protests and publishing on social media" and "providing moral support to rioters."


Many of us here in the United States take our freedom of speech and civil rights for granted. This woman was standing up for the oppressed and is now facing potential execution for her civic engagement and acts of protest.


“Any execution is appalling, but seeking the death penalty for activists like Israa al-Ghomgham, who are not even accused of violent behavior, is monstrous.” ~ Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch


In the past, women have been executed in Saudi Arabia for violent offenses such as murder, but generally, a woman arrested for activism was held and later released to a male guardian. Many find this surprising since the country has been making progress of late in moving towards gender equality, such as their announcement last year to allow women to drive.


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