British police must probe the death in Oxfordshire of an “at risk” UAE dissident and vocal critic of Saudi Arabia to rule out anything “untoward” campaigners say.
Alaa al-Siddiq, a prominent human rights activist, is understood to be the victim of a fatal car crash in Oxfordshire.
Ms al-Siddiq was the executive director of a UK-based non-profit organisation advocating for greater freedoms and human rights in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region.
Khalid Ibrahim, executive-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, a close colleague, said the group is calling for a thorough investigation from the British police to rule out anything untoward.
“Alaa was at risk all the time,” he told the Telegraph.
“She wasn’t afraid and it never stopped her from doing her peaceful and legitimate human rights work, but she knew she was at risk.
“Those of us who work to expose countries with massive human rights violations are always the target of oppressive governments. We work in a very hostile environment and such governments as those in the Gulf, are using surveillance technology to hack into our accounts.”
Mr Ibrahim said that after starting work for the Saudi human rights organisation ALQST “she knew that risk doubled,” adding “we all know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi”.
Ms Siddiq’s father, Mohammad al-Siddiq, is a prominent activist who has been held in detention by Emirati authorities since 2013. Although she was vocal about issues related to the UAE and continued to call for her father’s release, supporters say it was her criticism of the Saudi regime that placed her most at risk.
One human rights activist who worked with Ms Siddiq, said she was “brave” and had “spoken of death threats”.
The colleague, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “She was fighting her whole life, for her father and for others.”
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision in Oxfordshire, understood to have occurred on Saturday evening near Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxon.
Ms Siddiq is thought to have been travelling in the rear of a black BMW 118 which collided with a Land Rover Freelander.
Police say a 33-year-old woman, believed to be Ms Siddiq, was declared dead at the scene.
Two other adults and a child, all of whom were in the BMW, were injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
A passenger in the Land Rover was also taken to hospital after sustaining injuries.
Neither of the drivers were hurt and police are appealing for witnesses.
Investigating officer, PC Darren Baker of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Tragically, this incident has resulted in the death of a woman, as well as causing injuries to a number of others.
“I would like to hear from anybody who was travelling in the area at the time and saw the cars involved, or who may have a dash-cam recording which could assist our investigation.”