Riyadh releases dual Qatari-Saudi poet Nawaf al-Rasheed

Qatari-Saudi poet Nawaf al-Rasheed released after months of arbitrary detention in Saudi Arabia
2 min read
01 April, 2019
Saudi Arabia authorities released dual Qatari-Saudi poet Nawaf al-Rasheed after spending ten months in arbitrary detention
He was extrajudicially deported him to Saudi Arabia, where he was held incommunicado[Getty]

Qatari-Saudi poet Nawaf al-Rasheed has been released by Saudi authorities after spending ten months behind bars in the kingdom, according to activists on Monday.

The 30-year-old poet travelled to Kuwait following an invite extended by prominent Kuwaiti poet Abdelkarim al-Jabari.

He was arrested by Kuwaiti authorities on 12 May 2018 and extrajudicial deportation to Saudi Arabia, where he was held incommunicado.

"Saudi authorities release Nawaf Talal al-Rasheed after 10 months of arbitrary," the social media group, Prisoners of Conscience, said on its Twitter account.

According to The New Arab's Arabic service, Kuwaiti authorities extradited al-Rasheed on Saudi Arabia's request.

Kuwait's interior ministry mentioned the extradition on its account on Twitter, confirming that the order was "under bilateral mutual security arrangements" between the two states.

The Kuwaiti authorities did not, however, give any justification as to the circumstances or reasons of the detention and extradition.

The poet - a decedent of the Al-Rasheed dynasty - was not an activist or politically engaged.

Al-Rasheed is historic Arabian dynasty that existed in the Arabian Peninsula between 1836 and 1921. Their members ruled the Emirate of al-Hail in the northern part of present-day Saudi Arabia until the turn of the 20th century.

The al-Rasheed family have a historic rivalry with the current ruling family, the House of Saud.

Saudi Arabia came under fire after al-Rasheed's detention from rights groups. The National Human Rights Committee in Qatar (NHRC) said that his detention highlights continued human rights violations by Saudi Arabian authorities.

"Part of the ongoing fabrication of claims and unjust pretexts used for the arbitrarily detention of Qatari citizens. These violations go against all international human rights principles," NHRC said.

Al-Rasheed's detention is part of a wave of crackdowns on activists and clerics that was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since his appointment to the position.

Critics say that the Saudi prince is abusing his power, suppressing freedom of speech in his endeavor to modernise the country in line with the country’s strategic plan Saudi Vision 2030.

Prisoners of Conscience, specialised in covering news of prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, also said that women activists detained for making contact with foreign media and activists will appear in court on Wednesday, including Dr. Rokaya Mohareb, activists Aziza al-Youssef and Eman al-Nafjan, who were released on bail on Thursday.