Saudi Arabia: Will Arwa Baghdadi Have Her Baby in Prison?

Pregnant Saudi prisoner Arwa Baghdadi is about to give birth behind bars. In May 2011, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), an independent unlicensed human rights organization, published a formal letter [ar] on behalf of Arwa's mother, Huda al-Ahdl to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution.

Arwa's brother was killed in violent clashes with Saudi security forces in 2011. Following his death, Arwa and her husband, mother, father, sister-in-law, three young children from the family, and a member of their domestic staff were arrested without a warrant.

Arwa Baghdadi, had a one-year-old child when she was arrested and was pregnant. With all other family members behind bars, Arwa took her one-year child to prison with her.

In March, ACPRA reported [ar] that, while pregnant, Arwa had gone on hunger-strike to protest her detainment conditions (including alleged sexual harassment [ar]) and trial procedures.

Saudi journalist Ebtihal Mubarak tweeted [ar]:

@EbtihalMubarak: اروى بغدادي متوقع ان تلد خلال غد او بعده في السجن وادارته ترفض الافراج عنها مؤقتا وتصر ع ‎‫#اعتقال‬‏ ارجاعها للزنزانه ف ذات اليوم بعد الولادة.
@EbtihalMubarak: Arwa Baghdadi is expected to deliver her baby tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. The prison administration refuses to temporarily release her and insists to put her back in prison on the same day of delivery.

Citing Baghdadi's dual citizenship, Mubarak continued by demanding the interference of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh:

@EbtihalMubarak: Arwa Al-Baghdadi a Saudi/American detainee w/out trial @USEmbassyRiyadh shd interfere & ask #Saudi gov 2 allow birth & recovery in hospital

When the embassy responded to the demands, Mubarak tweeted [ar]:

@EbtihalMubarak: امس السفارة الأمريكية سألت السجن عن ‎‫#ولادة_أروى_البغدادي‬‏ ردوا انهم سيحجزوا سرير لها بالمتحدون لكنهم ارسلوا للداخلية بهذا الشأن ولم يتم الرد.
@EbtihalMubarak: Yesterday, the U.S. Embassy inquired the prison about Arwa. Their response was that they had reserved a bed in the United [Doctors private hospital], but they had been waiting for the approval of the ministry of interior.

Mohammad Al-Qahtani, ACPRA co-founder commented [ar]:

@MFQahtani: نحمل وزارة الداخلية المسئولية كاملة حيال المضاعفات الصحية المحتملة ‎‫#ولادة_أروى_البغدادي‬‏ في السجن وحرمانها من الإنتقال للمستشفى. ‎‫#حسم‬‏ ‎‫#اعتقال‬‏
@MFQahtani: The ministry of interior bears full responsibility of potential complications resulting from Arwa Baghdadi's prison birth and the refusal to transfer her to the hospital.

Saudi Twitter user, Khaled Aba al-Khiyl, wrote [ar]:

#ولادة_اروى_البغدادي‬ في السجن وهي مواطنة بينما نعالج المجرم علي عبدالله صالح في أفضل المستشفيات ، اللعنة على الاستبداد
@aynKHALED: [Saudi] citizen Arwa Al-Baghdadi delivers her baby in the prison, while we treat criminal Ali Abdullah Saleh [Yamani president] in the best of hospitals. Damn tyranny.

Famous Saudi cleric, Salman al-Odah, tweeted [ar]:

@salman_alodah: #ولادة_اروى_البغدادي‬‏ سجينة ربت طفلها بعمر سنة داخل السجن وستلد الثاني داخله.. أين القلوب؟
@salman_alodah: [Arwa is a] prisoner who brought up her one-year-old son in the prison and she is about to deliver the second within the prison. Do you have heart?

Saudi lawyer and human rights advocate Abdulaziz al-Hussan commented [ar]:

@AHussan: ‎‫#ولادة_اروى_البغدادي‬ ؛ حكومة تبحث عن ثورة!
@AHussan: Arwa Baghdadi delivery: a government looking for a revolution!

The news finally broke that the ministry of interior had agreed to allow Arwa to stay in the hospital [ar]:

@EbtihalMubarak: عاجل: هاتفت أروى والدتها قبل قليل وأخبرتها أن سجن ذهبان وقعها وبصمها ع ان يتم ‎‫#ولادة_اروى_البغدادي‬‏ في مستشفى المتحدون. ‎‫#اعتقال‬‏ ‎‫#السعودية‬‏
@EbtihalMubarak: Breaking: Arwa just phoned her mother and told her that she was asked to sign a paper that she would [deliver the baby] in the United [Doctors] Hospital.

But she noted [ar]:

@EbtihalMubarak: ينبغي الابقاء ع هاشتاغ ‎‫#ولادة_أروى_البغدادي‬‏ فاعلاً الى ان نتأكد من ولادتها ف المستشفى وايضا السماح لها بوقت كاف لاسترداد عافيتها خارج السجن
@EbtihalMubarak: We should keep tweeting using the hashtag […] until we are sure that she gives birth in the hospital and that she is given enough time for recovery.
Note: The thumbnail image is sourced from this blog post.

Update: On Thursday, June 28, Arwa was released to the United Doctors private hospital (photo).

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