Front Line Defenders and the Adala Center for Human Rights are gravely concerned by the ongoing persecution of human rights defenders (HRDs) in Saudi Arabia. Human rights defenders, activists and individuals who criticise government policies or expression dissent or diverging opinion to those of the authorities are subjected to harassment, surveillance, arbitrary detention, smear campaigns, prolonged and unfair trials. Family members of HRDs are also targeted and subjected to intimidation and harassment at the hands of the authorities.
In March 2011, peaceful protests were met with arbitrary arrests and violent repression and the authorities subsequently banned public gatherings. Human rights defenders, democracy activists and critical voices rely on the Internet and online media for their work. Many of them have been arrested for expressing criticism of the regime.