Saudi Arabia

BACKGROUND FOR: Nassima Al-Sada, jailed for defending women’s rights

Nassima Al-Sada loves animals and cherishes her garden back home. Even in her prison cell, she has a carefully tended plant. It is her only link to the outside world she must sorely miss. For much of her life, Nassima has campaigned for women’s freedom and rights in Saudi Arabia. She was one of several prominent activists demanding the right to drive for women and the right to carry out their daily business with the permission of a male “guardian”.

Nassima was arrested for her peaceful human rights work in July 2018. While in jail, she has been ill-treated. She was placed in a cell alone, in complete isolation from others, from February 2019 to February 2020. She is allowed one weekly phone call with her family, but no visits, not even from her lawyer.

Saudi Arabia’s guardianship laws required women to seek a man’s permission to go out and for other basic needs. While these laws have been eased in recent months, the women who have campaigned to end the guardianship system remain behind bars. “Why should an under-age boy be the guardian of a woman who is an adult?” Nassima wrote in 2016. “Why isn’t there an age at which a woman becomes an adult, responsible for her own decisions and her life? Why should there be a man responsible for her life?”

Nassima and her family are not giving up. Nor should we.

Tell Saudi Arabia to free Nassima now.


Sample Letters and addresses to use

You may use all or part of the sample letter, insert your own sentences after reading the overview above, or copy and paste the letter into an email message. Handwritten letters can be very powerful, but other methods of communication are also effective.

Sample Letter

Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037             Today’s date  

Your Royal Highness, Nassima al-Sada is a woman whom Saudi Arabia should take great pride in. Her lifelong journey has been one dedicated to the improvement of women’s freedoms and her vision of them being active members of an open, vibrant society.

But instead of embracing Ms. al-Sada, the authorities arrested her in July 2018 and placed her in solitary confinement for one year. Today, she is still behind bars. I call on you to request the release of Ms. al-Sada and all other detained women human rights defenders, immediately and without conditions.

I will be watching this case closely. Yours sincerely, Your first and last name

(it is most effective to have a return address here, but if you are uncomfortable with that, at least put your city, USA).

This letter in Word format here or see below to download it for copying, editing or printing

WRITE TO THE AMBASSADOR OF SAUDI ARABIA

Tell her to free Nassima and other
women’s rights activists immediately
and unconditionally.

Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

Email: saudiusemb@mofa.gov.sa
Twitter: @rbalsaud

(Salutation: Your Royal Highness)

SHOW NASSIMA AND HER FAMILY YOU’RE WITH THEM

Post a photo of your garden or simply of yourself enjoying the sun on your social media channels. Include a personal
message to Nassima. Remember to
tag her @nasema33, as well as
@KingSalman, and use the hashtag #FreeNassima

Letter writing Tips download below

Reporting your messages

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