Two Saudi women released following a tweeting campaign
Two Saudi women have been released following a tweeting campaign. Rima bint Abdul Rahman al-Jareesh and Sharifa al-Saqa’abi, were detained by the Saudi authorities following a protest they participated in, demanding a fair trial of their loved ones.
On the Saudi website, Alsaha.com, the protesters started informing each other about their campaign and movement that was launched on Sunday the 3rd of July. Their first message had a picture of the Saudi Ministry of Interior with graphics showing the location of where they are going to meet, and a comment saying: The families of the arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia have decided to assemble today before the Ministry of Interior at four PM, this Sunday afternoon, and we have decided to meet at the location.
The second message says: “We have found four Patrols monitoring the area in front of the western gate, spaced at twenty meters away from each other.
We decided that the brothers will be meeting in front of the western gate, but they will chase us.
Strangely enough, women were contributing online and updating the group of what was going on. Um Mohammad (Mother of Mohammad) wrote: women rode in a car, one of the brothers wanted to take them away, but more than 10 civilian cars, police vehicles and emergency forces arrested them all.
Another woman called Jumana wrote: “Children without their mothers are under siege by security forces near the Ministry of Interior, thirsty in the heat”.
The Amnesty Human rights campaigners in UK started their action at once online, creating an action network that started sending faxes to the Ministry of the Interior and the King of Saudi Arabia. The UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who was visiting Saudi Arabia gave the campaigners a great opportunity to try a new way of talking about their concerns through Twitter since he’s a regular tweeter, people tweeted him details of their cases, and over 120 people retweeted or sent their own messages to Hague, most of them within the hour.
Amnesty activists got the Foreign Secretary’s attention, and once he tweeted back:
@AmnestyUK I have asked our UK Embassy to look into the case. Right to peaceful protest should be respected & legitimate aspirations heeded.
Late yesterday, Amnesty received confirmation that al-Jareesh and al-Saqa’abi had been released on Wednesday evening.
No information was released about what changed their minds, but the Amnesty tweeters were glad to know that they succeeded in putting their cases on William Hague’s agenda.