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Iman al-Qahtani: Saudi rights activist given travel ban

Saudi rights activist and journalist Iman al-Qahtani has been banned from traveling abroad.

Qahtani travel banEnlarge
Saudi rights activist and journalist Iman al-Qahtani has been banned from traveling abroad. (Twitter/Screengrab)

Saudi rights activist and journalist Iman al-Qahtani has been banned from traveling abroad.

Al-Qahtani, who is known for being outspoken in her support for fellow human rights campaigners in Saudi Arabia, only found out about her travel ban when she was stopped from flying to Istanbul.

Saudi officials were reportedly not happy with al-Qahtani's reporting. In April, she said she would stop tweeting to protect her family from retaliation, particularly for her mother's sake.

Al-Qahtani had come under particular pressure from security services over her reporting of the trials of two leading Saudi human rights activists, Mohammad al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamid, who founded the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA).

They were tried on numerous charges, including breaking their allegiance to the king and setting up an unlicensed organization.

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Al-Qahtani was among a group of activists and journalists who live-tweeted the two men's hearings and posted pictures from inside the court, allowing for a rare transparency of legal proceedings in Saudi Arabia.

One of the judges originally ordered al-Qahtani arrested for providing false information, but the charge was later dropped.

Both ACPRA founders were eventually found guilty and sentenced to 10 to 11 years in jail.

Travel bans are common in Saudi Arabia for those suspected of stirring up political unrest.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/saudi-arabia/130719/iman-al-qahtani-saudi-rights-activist-given-travel-ban