Gulf governments have attempted to silence peaceful critics in response to a wave of online activism in recent years, Human Rights Watch said in an interactive website that began operating today. The governments have responded to online criticism with surveillance, arrests, and other arbitrary punishments.
In a nod to Twitter’s 140-character limit, this interactive website presents the profiles of 140 prominent Bahraini, Kuwaiti, Omani, Qatari, Saudi, and Emirati social and political rights activists and dissidents and describes their struggles to resist government efforts to silence them. All 140 have faced government retaliation for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and many have been arrested, tried, and sentenced to fines or prison. Profiled activists include Nabeel Rajab and Zainab al-Khawaja from Bahrain, Waleed Abu al-Khair and Mohammed Fahad al-Qahtani from Saudi Arabia, and Ahmed Mansoor and Mohammed al-Roken from the United Arab Emirates.
Read the entire report here.