Human rights activist subject to ten-year travel ban
The activist and human rights defender said he was shocked to find this out while crossing the King Fahd bridge on his way to Bahrain. He had not been informed of this decision prior to this incident. The punishment not only affects his personal travel but unduly harms his family as Saudi law requires him to accompany his sons when they travel.
Shammari is a writer and human rights defender, and has consistently advocated for political reforms in the Saudi state. He was arrested in June 2010 on charges of "disturbing others" because of his writings criticizing the Saudi regime. He was released on bail in February 2012, and the charges were then dropped.
It is worth noting that the imposition of a travel ban on activists has become common practice in Saudi Arabia, as the case of human rights activist Walid Abu al-Kheir demonstrates. Abu al-Kheir was prevented from travelling for "security reasons" before a scheduled trip to the United States to attend a leadership training, in a move that is worrying for human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia.
“It is clear that the travel ban on Sheikh Mukhlif Shammari is a punishment for his peaceful human rights activities and leading role in raising awareness of human rights and democracy issues in Saudi society. Such actions by the Saudi authorities are a clear violation of all treaties and international human rights conventions signed by the government,” stated ANHRI.
“The exercise of human rights work is a legitimate practice, and the harassment and harm perpetrated by the government in various ways is an unjustifiably oppressive approach,” added ANHRI.
ANHRI calls on the authorities to revoke the travel ban placed on Shammari and all other activists in order to guarantee freedom of movement, in addition to immediately ceasing to harass human rights defenders in the country.
What other IFEX members are saying
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch