UCU University of Leeds branch supports the ALQST for Human Rights group campaign for the release of University of Leeds PhD student Salma al-Shehab from prison in Saudi Arabia. Members of the branch voted for the following motion at a general meeting 5 December 2023, following a talk by Lina al-Hathloul of ALQST for Human Rights.
This UCU branch notes that:
- University of Leeds PhD student Salma al-Shehab is currently serving a 27-year prison sentence in Saudi Arabia, to be followed by a travel ban of the same length, for tweets in support of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
- On 7 July 2023, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) found her detention to be arbitrary and called for her immediate release, alongside Nourah al-Qahtani, sentenced to 45 years in prison, also in connection to tweets supporting women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
- Al-Shehab’s mental and physical health have deteriorated in prison: in March 2023, she participated in a collective hunger strike, which she ended several weeks later in order to be able to take medication.
- The University of Leeds has yet to issue a formal public statement calling for: a) her immediate, unconditional release; and b) the lifting of her travel ban.
This UCU branch believes that:
- Al-Shehab must be released immediately and unconditionally, and have her travel ban immediately lifted.
- The University must take urgent steps to promote her case.
This UCU branch resolves to:
- Seek an urgent meeting with management to call on the University to publicly speak out for al-Shehab’s release.
- Reiterate our call for her release in an open letter, which we will invite other trade unions, members of staff and students to sign.
- Organise a public event with a speaker on Saudi human rights in collaboration with ALQST for Human Rights and MENA Solidarity Network.
- Organise a vigil for al-Shehab.
This post is subject to the approval of the minutes of the general meeting 5 December 2023.
This page was last updated on 5 December 2023