‘They Beat Us And Called Us Names’

As reported here earlier this week, a group of women and children were arrested Saturday in Riyadh after they staged a protest outside the National Society for Human Rights office on King Fahad Rd to demand the release of their detained family members. One of the women arrested was Abeer al-Sayed, wife of detained political activist Suleiman al-Rashudi. Amnesty International posted her account of the protest:

We started going from street to street to avoid having the placards taken from us. I was filming the whole thing, and I heard a police officer shout, “this one is taking pictures”. I ran but they followed me, so I appealed to people in their cars to help me. Two masked men in plain clothes from the General Directorate of Investigation got hold of me, and threw me to a female guard, who then threw me on one of the buses. They beat us and called us names.

Then after getting arrested:

They took our fingerprints and a DNA sample, and asked us who we are, about our leader, how we co-ordinate our activities, if we have Twitter accounts.

“Don’t you know that protests are forbidden under Shari’a?” one of them asked me. I responded that it is not, that there are different opinions on this. I told them even their interrogation was wrong, since I didn’t have a lawyer present with me. He told me my choice was to continue without a lawyer or stay in prison. So I let them continue.

This whole time we had nothing to eat, despite having children with us. We pleaded with them for food, and eventually around midnight they said they couldn’t give us food since everywhere was closed. After that they brought some juice and one packet of crisps for us to share amongst the children.

Amnesty has urged the Saudi government to release the protesters.