Publication date: 13/07/2021

ALQST has received credible news that Lina Alsharif, a 33-year-old Saudi physician, was arrested several weeks ago and may still be forcibly disappeared. The reason for these measures is unknown but appears to be linked to her peaceful social media activism.

According to a reliable source, Alsharif was arrested by the Saudi authorities in May 2021. Following this, her family were denied any contact with her for several weeks, during which she was held in conditions of enforced disappearance. ALQST does not yet have any further information about her status or whereabouts, raising concerns that she remains forcibly disappeared.

Alsharif’s arrest appears to be linked to her activity on social media, where she peacefully exercised her right to free speech. 

“Alsharif’s apparent enforced disappearance is of grave concern, particularly given the Saudi authorities’ systematic and widespread use of the practice to silence critical voices,” commented ALQST Deputy Director Josh Cooper

In Saudi Arabia the practice of enforced disappearance is part of a larger pattern of arbitrary arrests of people exercising their right to free speech and other fundamental rights, followed by shorter or longer periods of disappearance before the victims resurface to face trial. Sometimes they last a very long time, raising concerns for the safety and even lives of the victims. 

ALQST calls on the Saudi authorities to immediately reveal the fate of Lina Alsharif and others forcibly disappeared, and to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily arrested for expressing their opinions. ALQST calls for pressure to be brought to bear on the authorities to end these practices, and for them to be held fully accountable. 

Share Article
Saudi crackdown on free speech turns farcical, with Salma al-Shehab resentenced yet again and other women jailed for up to 40 years
In a farcical turn of events in Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), women’s rights activist Salma al-Shehab was resentenced on 25 January 2023 to 27 years in prison.
Death sentences upheld for three men who resisted Neom project
On 23 January, Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court of Appeal upheld death sentences against three members of the Huwaitat tribe, Shadli, Ibrahim and Ataullah al-Huwaiti.
Drugs-related executions make sudden comeback in Saudi Arabia despite claims of a moratorium
Executions for drugs-related offences have made a dramatic comeback in Saudi Arabia this month, despite the announcement in January 2021 of a moratorium on use of the death penalty for such non-violent crimes.