Washington Post Opinion: Saudi Arabia’s brutal treatment of female reformers should have woken us up long ago
Months after the Saudi government jailed some of its most prominent female activists, new reports say the women have endured torture and sexual abuse in detention. The accounts, coming from multiple sources, are appalling and include allegations ranging from electrocution and flogging to forced kissing and groping at the hands of masked interrogators. If true, these actions would stand in flagrant violation of international law, including the Convention Against Torture, which Saudi Arabia has signed. Now, sources close to the women have linked the women’s mistreatment to Saud al-Qahtani, a former top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has also been implicated in the murder of Saudi journalist and Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
Yet these shocking revelations have so far garnered scant response from an international community that has repeatedly dismissed these women’s plight. Their suffering began months ago — many have been jailed since May under trumped-up accusations of treason. Most of the Western media and world leaders were too enamored with Mohammed as a would-be reformer to confront the prince over the matter. Even as human rights groups warned of miscarried justice, most mainstream outlets preferred to focus on the narrative of a “Saudi renaissance” in which a young, moderate ruler had just granted women the right to drive. (read more at the Washington Post)