(BLOOMBERG) -- Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on prominent women’s rights advocates is a “chilling development” for independent critics of the government, Amnesty International said in a statement.
Saudi authorities arrested seven activists last week, one month before the lifting of a longstanding ban on women drivers. Officials accused the activists of working “together in an organized manner to violate religious and national values” and having “suspicious communication with foreign agencies,” according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
“This chilling smear campaign is an extremely worrying development for women human rights defenders and activists in Saudi Arabia,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns, said on Saturday. “Such blatant intimidation tactics are entirely unjustifiable.”
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