Saudis release human rights activist

In 2010, Samar Badawi served seven months in jail for disobeying her father.

Story highlights

  • Samar Badawi has been released by Saudi Arabian authorities
  • She was accused of running her ex-husband's Twitter account, an activist says

(CNN)Samar Badawi, a notable human rights activist in Saudi Arabia, was released Wednesday after being detained by law enforcement the day before.

Gen. Mansour al-Turki, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said that Badawi was not arrested, contrary to the claims of multiple human rights activists. Rather, "she was subject to a questioning session by the district police upon the request of the bureau of investigation and public prosecution," according to al-Turki.
Ali Adubisi, director of the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, said Badawi returned home.
"According to what I know up to this moment, there are no subsequent steps relating to an investigation or a trial," he said.
Badawi's case appeared to be connected to her role in lobbying for the release of her brother, Raif, and her former spouse, Waleed Abu al-Khair. Their imprisonments have drawn the ire of human rights and free speech advocates.
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Adubisi says that Badawi was arrested on multiple charges, including "turning the public opinion against the state" and managing Raif's Twitter account.
Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife and president of a foundation lobbying for his release, said Samar Badawi was charged with running al-Khair's Twitter account.
In 2010, Badawi served seven months in jail for disobeying her father, who she said physically abused her from the age of 14 after her mother died of cancer.
Al-Khair, Badawi's former husband, is a prominent human rights lawyer. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence that Amnesty International says is "in connection with his work protecting and defending human rights in Saudi Arabia."
Her brother Raif was convicted of violating Saudi Arabia's information technology law and insulting Islam on his blog, "Saudi Arabian Liberals."