Saudi backpedals on video labelling feminism 'extremist'

14 Novembre, 2019, 02:28 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Saudi backpedals on video labelling feminism 'extremist'

The TV channel said one of those sentenced had set up a terrorist organisation while in prison and others had committed "takfir" - labelling followers as non-believers - against the Saudi government, clerics and security forces.

It referred to feminism and homosexuality as examples of extremism that can hamper Saudi interests.

The security agency says it is investigating the video.

The animated clip was posted on Twitter at the weekend by a verified account of the State Security Presidency which reports directly to the king.

It said the victims were two men and a woman.

A statement from the agency said individuals had made a number of mistakes in their efforts to define extremism.

In a separate statement, the kingdom's Human Rights Commission stressed that "feminism is not criminalized" and that it accords "the utmost importance to women's rights". But homosexuality and atheism are still crimes, they reiterated.

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In a not-so-surprising move, the ultra conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia has listed feminism, atheism and homosexuality as 'extremist 'elements, even as the country seeks to promote tolerance and attract foreigners.

The video has been criticised by human rights groups including Amnesty International.

Though there have been recent reforms to discriminatory laws and practices in Saudi Arabia - notably changes to the male guardianship system and a lifting of the longstanding ban on female drivers - numerous Saudi women's rights campaigners are now being prosecuted in connection with their work.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director, said: "This announcement is extremely risky and has serious implications for the rights to freedom of expression and life, liberty and security in the country".

In August, Saudi Arabia also allowed women to obtain passports without seeking the approval of their "guardians" - fathers, husbands or other male relatives. Some of them alleged to have been tortured in prison.

However, the instances of arresting many critics and the clamping down of any form of dissent have been rampant in the country, a complete opposite of the somewhat progressive image the country is portraying to be.


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