The Saudi Authorities Arbitrarily Arrest young female artist Noor Al-Muslim

The Saudi authorities have arbitrarily arrested young female artist Noor Saeed Al-Muslim, aged 19, a university student at King Faisal University. Noor, who is from Safwa (Eastern Province), was arrested after being interrogated about some old tweets which were published on the social media platform Twitter, in which she expressed her peaceful opinions regarding local events (such as protests) and regional events،،،


Local sources reveal that several days ago, a summons was sent to Noor’s father, Saeed Ali Al-Muslim, by the Saudi intelligence office (Al-Mabahith) in Anak (South of Qatif) in which he was asked to bring in his daughter to the office for some ‘routine questioning’. However, after bringing his daughter the Mabahith office for investigation, it became apparent  the summons was for the purpose of interrogating Noor in relation to old tweets published as early as 2015. It is also likely that some of these tweets would have been written when she was a minor.

According to sources, following her initial summons, Noor was later released on bail. However, the investigation did not end there, as the next day she was summoned a second time for further interrogation, and on third day the Saudi authorities arrested her, after which she was transferred to the notorious General Directorate of Investigations (GDI) prison in Dammam.

Noor Al-Muslim
Noor Al-Muslim

Other sources also indicate that Noor’s arrest may also linked to her activism, namely her
role as a volunteer. Noor participated as a volunteer with other women, as part of a local
committee which was setup to improve security measures at local mosques and Hussainiat to protect worshippers, in response to a wave of fatal ISIS terror attacks targeting Shia places of worship, which was witnessed in the predominantly Shia populated Eastern province in 2015. The local committee was also set up in response to the failure of the Saudi authorities to provide adequate protection to citizens at that time. According to sources,
a local journalist snitched on her, informing them that Noor was present at an event which was discussing the Saudi authorities
opposition towards the formation of such local protection committees. The authorities did not approve of these committees, as they believed the security arrangements provided by the state were sufficient,and such committees represented criticism of the shortcomings of the Kingdom.

Noor was also a volunteer in another committee, which sought to improve and beautify the streets of Safwa.

Several well known Saudi pro-government twitter accounts, which are widely believed to be linked to the Saudi authorities, have recently been posting about young Noor with screenshots of some of her old tweets, attempting to defame her and calling for her to be reprimanded in order to change her opinions regarding local events within the Kingdom.

The arrest of Noor Al-Muslim is based upon her exercising her freedom of expression and her arrest and detention must be regarded as arbitrary and outside the scope of the law.

Despite Riyadh’s apparent claims and promises of women’s rights reforms, it continues to  target female activists who peacefully express their views and opinions, which are not aligned or in opposition to the Saudi governments narrative. Thus, the use of arbitrary arrest and detention, indicate that such reforms are merely superficial, and systematic repression continues against activists, and more recently the trend of targeting female activists has become more apparent.

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