Amnesty says EU failing to properly protect activists

Amnesty International says the EU is failing to properly support human rights defenders in countries like Saudi Arabia

BRUSSELS -- Amnesty International says the European Union is failing to properly support rights activists in countries like Saudi Arabia.

In a new report Wednesday, the rights group says "restrictions that are suffocating civil society in Saudi Arabia have not been met with a clear response from the EU."

It notes the plight of Saudi activist Mohammed al-Otaibi, who was blocked from seeking refuge in Norway despite holding a visa, saying EU countries "failed to speak out on his defense and further exposed him to injustice."

The groups says a lack of clear EU strategy to protect activists means its efforts "risk being perceived as arbitrary at best and politically motivated at worst."

It says that "despite complex relations with China, the EU uses much more public diplomacy" to raise concerns there.