Personal information

  • Sex: Male
  • Marital status: Married
  • Date of birth: 1956
  • Area of activity: Cleric
  • Place of residence: Riyadh

Salman al-Odah is one of Saudi Arabia’s best known religious scholars and reformers. He has also campaigned for political reform and human rights. He was arrested on 9 September 2017 after posting on Twitter a prayer for a “softening of hearts” during a political standoff between the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. His trial has remained stalled until further notice since July 2021, while his health continues to deteriorate.

Arrest and jail information

  • Prison: Al-Ha’ir Prison, Riyadh
  • Date of arrest: 09 September 2017
  • Manner of arrest: State Security officers took him from his home to Dhahban Central Prison, Jeddah

Trial information

  • Charges: 37 counts including turning society against the country’s rulers; seeking to corrupt society; having links with individuals and organisations belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood; not praying enough for the country’s rulers; calling for change in the Saudi government; attempting to incite revolution
  • Court: Specialised Criminal Court (SCC)


  • Arbitrary arrest/ detention ,
  • Denied contact with family ,
  • Denied access to a lawyer ,
  • Observers denied access to court hearings ,
  • Denied access to healthcare

Violation details

Al-Odah's health has sharply declined in prison, including the loss of almost half of his ability to hear and see. He has experienced severe ill-treatment in prison since his arbitrary arrest in September 2017, including being denied medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


  • 06 July 2021 - He attended his latest trial session in the Specialised Criminal Court. Despite his family being told that a further hearing would take place, nothing is scheduled and the trial remains pending.
  • 14 March 2021 - A closed hearing was held at the Specialised Criminal Court in his trial, lasting only seconds, with the next hearing scheduled for July.
  • 2019-2020 - Dozens of trial sessions took place, a majority of which were postponed for unknown reasons.
  • End of 2019 - He was transferred from Dhahban prison, Jeddah to Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh.
  • 4 September 2018 - His trial began, with the Public Prosecutor calling for the death penalty.
  • January 2018 - He was briefly hospitalised as a result of his deteriorating health.
  • 9 September 2017-July 2018 - Al-Odah was held without charge or trial and subjected to severe mistreatment including sleep deprivation, repeated interrogations, and the withholding of vital medication.
  • 09 September 2017 - He was arrested after he posted on Twitter a prayer for the “softening of hearts” of Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s rulers during a political standoff.

Other prisoners


ِAbbas al-Saeed



Sukaynah al-Aithan


Fahad Ramadan


Sarah al-Jar


Manal al-Gafiri