Personal information

  • Sex: Male
  • Area of activity: Blogger
  • Place of residence: Al-Dammam

Essam al-Zamel is a businessman and economics writer. He was arrested in September 2017 during a round-up of dozens of academics, journalists, human rights activists and others critical of the regime. He had expressed support for human rights and liberties, the Arab Spring, and calls for reform in Saudi Arabia; and criticised Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s abortive plan to sell off the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, pointing out the risks involved.

Arrest and jail information

  • Prison: Al-Ha’ir Prison, Riyadh
  • Date of arrest: 12 September 2017

Trial information

  • Charges: Seeking to undermine the social fabric of the nation. Seeking to stir up sedition in the Kingdom through his Twitter account. Attacking and discrediting policies and decisions of the State. Questioning the probity of the State. Describing the State as tyrannical. Attacking the rulers’ foreign policy. Inciting demonstrations and sit-ins. Belonging to a proscribed group (the Muslim Brotherhood). Insulting the States of Egypt and the UAE and their leaders, and meddling in their affairs. Communicating with a Qatari figure after the Doha boycott. Meeting foreign diplomats in official positions several times; offering them analyses and opinions; and supplying them with information about the Kingdom, initiatives and decisions it is working on, and what is happening inside it, without informing the authorities or asking their permission before meeting the foreigners, with the intention of harming Saudi Arabia’s policies, as he was aware the diplomats would relay those opinions to their countries. Participating with other Saudis in a Telegram group that denigrated policies and decisions of the State and its rulers. Preparing, sending and storing on his Twitter account tweets prejudicial to public order and harmful to Saudi policy, and belonging to an online group on Telegram.
  • Verdict: 15 years in prison.
  • Date of verdict: 6 October 2020


  • Arbitrary arrest/ detention


  • 6 October 2020 - Sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  • 12 September 2017 - Arrested after expressing support for human rights and criticising MBS’s plan to sell off the state oil company, Saudi Aramco.

Other prisoners


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ِAbbas al-Saeed



Sukaynah al-Aithan


Fahad Ramadan


Sarah al-Jar