Two US citizens among women's rights activists detained in Saudi Arabia

Two American citizens with dual U.S.-Saudi citizenship have reportedly been arrested in Saudi Arabia as part of a crackdown on women's rights activists.

Reuters reported Friday that journalist Salah al-Haidar and author Bader al-Ibrahim, who are both U.S. citizens, were part of a group of eight activists in total who were arrested this week for publicly supporting women's rights in the country, including the right to drive a car.


The activists were detained Wednesday and Thursday, according to the London-based Saudi civil rights group ALQST.

The eight who were arrested this week were apparently accused of supporting 11 detained women activists who were arrested last year and are awaiting trial for campaigning for an end to Saudi Arabia's custom of male guardianship.

Siblings of one of the 11 activists awaiting trial told CNN on Thursday that remaining silent had only worsened the circumstances for the detained women.

“We stayed silent for eight months. We thought that being silent would solve the issue,” Walid al-Hathloul, a family member of activist Loujain al-Hathloul, told CNN according to Reuters.

“We found out at the end of the day that this made the case even worse and that’s why we’re speaking out now. At the end of the day we didn’t have any options but to speak out," he added.

The Saudi government and the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh did not return requests for comment, according to Reuters.

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that children of Jamal Khashoggi, a Post columnist who was killed in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey, have been receiving monthly payments in a bid to ensure their criticism over their father's death remains private.