Personal information

  • Sex: Female
  • Marital status: Married
  • Date of birth: 13 August 1974
  • Area of activity: Human rights activist , Women’s rights activist
  • Place of residence: Qatif
  • Group:

Nassima al-Sadah, a human rights activist and educator, has persistently challenged discrimination based on gender and religion. In 2011 she sued the government demanding that women be allowed to vote and stand as candidates in municipal elections; she stood for election herself in 2015 but was banned from participating. Al-Sadah was involved in the campaign to end the ban on women driving; attended court hearings on behalf of political activists; and delivered human rights training on topics including the rights of the country’s Shia citizens. She co-founded the NGO Adala Centre for Human Rights, which the Saudi authorities refused to license.

Arrest and jail information

  • Prison: Al-Mabaheth (General Investigations Directorate), Dammam
  • Date of arrest: 30 July 2018

Trial information

  • Charges: Communicating with foreign entities hostile to the state
  • Court: Criminal Court
  • Verdict: Five years and eight months in prison, half of it suspended


  • Arbitrary arrest/ detention ,
  • Denied access to a lawyer

Violation details

Placed in solitary confinement for nearly a year


  • 27 June 2021 - She was released, along with Samar Badawi, following the expiry of the sentence against her.
  • March 2021 - The Appeals Court in Riyadh upheld the sentence of five years in prison against her, with two years suspended. 
  • 25 November 2020 - She was sentenced by the Criminal Court to five years and eight months in prison, half of it suspended. The Public Prosecution has appealed the sentence, seemingly with the aim of securing an even harsher sentence.
  • 19 February 2020 - Al-Sadah, Samar Badawi, Nouf Abdulaziz were called to a secret trial session in the Criminal Court in which international observers were denied from attending. Due to international pressure on the Saudi authorities, the case was transferred from the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) to the Criminal Court.
  • 30 July 2018- Beginning of 2020 - She remained in Dammam Public Security Prison before being transferred to al-Ha'ir Prison in Riyadh.
  • 18 July 2019 - She was summoned to attend a session of her trial in Riyadh Criminal Court. She was convicted of charges based on confessions to posting messages on social media including Twitter. Judge Ibrahim Ali al-Luhaidan asked her to sign a document requesting a temporary release until the next hearing, without setting a date for this.
  • 30 July 2018 - She was arrested along with other activists who had advocated for an end to discrimination against women.

Other prisoners


Eman al-Nafjan

Academic , Blogger , Human rights activist , Women’s rights activist , Writer


Loujain al-Hathloul

Human rights activist , Women’s rights activist


Abeer Namankany

Academic , Human rights activist


Samar Badawi

Human rights activist , Women’s rights activist


Nassima al-Sadah

Human rights activist , Women’s rights activist