Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi was released on Wednesday, one day after several advocacy groups reported that Saudi authorities had arrested and imprisoned her. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry, however, denies that she was arrested but claims that “she was subject to a questioning session by the district police upon the request of the bureau of investigation and public prosecution.” Ali Adubisi, director of the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, said Badawi had returned home, adding that according to his current knowledge “there are no subsequent steps relating to an investigation or a trial.”
Badawi, a prominent human rights activist, is the sister of Raif Badawi, the blogger who received international attention when he was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for criticizing the Saudi government and insulting Islam. Her ex-husband, Waleed Abu al-Khair, is a human rights lawyer, who also defended her brother and is serving a 15-year prison sentence himself. Samar has long campaigned for his release and, according to human rights organizations, was arrested on Tuesday on several charges including “turning the public opinion against the state” and managing Raif’s Twitter account. In 2010, she served a seven month jail sentence for disobeying her father whom she claimed physically abused her after her mother passed away.
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