Saudi authorities drag fleeing Saudi woman back to KSA from Philippines, arrest activist showing solidarity

Dina Ali is arrested in the Philippines and returned to Saudi Arabia; Alaa al-Anazi is arrested for showing solidarity with her

 دينا آلاء Dina Aala

On April 10, 2017, Saudi citizen Dina Ali al-Salloum appeared in a video saying she had fled from Saudi Arabia to seek asylum in Australia, and that during her flight’s stopover in the Philippines she had been detained for 13 hours by the Philippine authorities at the request of the Saudi Embassy.  In the recorded video she asked for protection and guarantees of her safety.

On April 11, Dina Ali was returned to Saudi Arabia.  Eyewitnesses on her flight report having seen a young woman being escorted on board and heard her screaming.  Activists have circulated another video of the woman screaming “this is not my father” with reference to a male relative accompanying the authorities in the apprehension and repatriation operation.  The Saudi Embassy in the Philippines released a statement saying that Dina’s arrest and repatriation were “a family matter” and that she had been “returned with her relatives to the homeland”.  This indicates that they were acting in accordance with the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia that denies women the right of self-determination and subjects them to the authority of a male relative.  (For more about the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia.)

On Dina’s return to Saudi soil, a number of activists went to King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh to show their solidarity and document the event.  Among them was a 24-year-old female medical student in Riyadh, Alaa Rajaa Sulaiman al-Anazi.  Alaa was arrested by the Saudi authorities, as was a Saudi man who was reportedly released later that day.  ALQST has received information that Dina and Alaa are being held in the Young Women’s Care Home in Riyadh, but no further details were available.

ALQST sees the Saudi Embassy’s statement as clear evidence that there is no criminal case against Dina Ali Salloum, and that she was apprehended and repatriated on the basis of Saudi laws that deny women their civil rights as competent adults.

ALQST views Alaa Rajaa Sulaiman al-Anazi as having been arbitrarily arrested, and does not consider her to have done anything to break the law, even as reported by media close to the Saudi authorities.

ALQST holds the Philippine and Saudi authorities fully responsible for the safety of Dina Ali’s life, and for protecting her from her relatives.  

ALQST calls on the international community to condemn the Philippine authorities for their collusion with the Saudi authorities in breach of their commitments under international agreements as a State Party to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

ALQST also calls for pressure on the Saudi authorities to release Dina Ali al-Salloum and Alaa Rajaa al-Anazi immediately and unconditionally, and to guarantee their safety and security and enjoyment of their legitimate rights, free from harm or abuse by the authorities or any other party.

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