Saudi judiciary brings “ACPRA trials” to a close with confirmation of the final sentence against Abdulaziz al-Shubaily
With confirmation of the final sentence against human rights activist Abdulaziz al-Shubaily, and before him rights activists Issa al-Hamid, both members of the Saudi Association for Political and Civil Rights (ACPRA), the Saudi authorities have finally closed the ACPRA file in the courts.
The ACPRA case began in 2009, when a group of activists founded the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights (ACPRA). In 2013, however, the Saudi authorities issued a court order dissolving the association, and began passing various sentences on its members, on charges like founding an unlicensed association, public incitement, damaging the reputation of the kingdom, defaming the judiciary and the prestige of senior clerics, and disobeying the ruler. All members of ACPRA are now in jail except just four: al-Shubaily and al-Hamid, who are out on bail, while two others — Mohammed Saleh al-Bajadi and Omar Mohammed al-Saeed — have already left prison.
With the last sentences now confirmed, the combined total for the ACPRA members comes to 105 years in prison and 94 years in travel bans, plus monetary fines and other punishments, broken down as follows:
1 — Abdulaziz Youssef al-Shubaily: Sentence confirmed as eight years in prison, eight-year travel ban and eight-year ban on writing in social media.
2 — Issa Hamid al-Hamid: Sentence confirmed as 11 years in prison, 11-year travel ban and SR100,000 ($27,000) fine.
3 — Lawyer and former judge Sulaiman Ibrahim al-Rashoudi: Arrested on Wednesday morning, November 12, 2012 and placed in an isolation cell, cut off from the outside world and denied visits for two months. Still being held in al-Ha’ir political prison in Riyadh. Sentenced to 15 years in prison and a 15-year travel ban.
4 — Dr Abdullah Hamid al-Hamid: Detained since March 9, 2013, and currently being held in al-Ha’ir criminal prison in Riyadh. Sentenced to 11 years in prison and a five-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia.
5 — Fawzan Mohsen al-Harbi: Detained since December 26, 2013, and currently being held in al-Ha’ir criminal prison in Riyadh. Sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia.
6 — Dr Abdulkareem Youssef al-Khoder: Detained since April 24, 2013, and currently being held in Buraydah criminal prison. Sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia.
7 — Dr Abdulrahman Hamid al-Hamid: Detained since April 17, 2013, and currently being held in Buraydah criminal prison. Sentenced to nine years in prison, a nine-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia and a SR50,000 ($13,500) fine.
8 — Dr Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani: Detained since March 9, 2013, and currently being held in al-Ha’ir criminal prison in Riyadh. Sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia.
9 — Saleh Ashwan al-Ashwan: Detained since July 7, 2012, and currently being held in al-Ha’ir political prison. Sentenced to six years in prison, a five-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia and a SR10,000 ($27,000) fine.
10 — Omar Mohammed al-Saeed: Arrested on April 28, 2013. Sentenced to seven years in prison and a seven-year ban on travel outside Saudi Arabia. Came out of prison on December 24, 2015.
11 — Mohammed Saleh al-Bajadi: Arrested on March 21, 2011 and placed in solitary confinement for four months. Sentenced to eight years in prison with half the term suspended, and a four-year travel ban. Transferred on Sunday, November 29, 2015 to the Mohamed bin Nayef Center for Counselling and Care, from which he was subsequently released on Thursday, April 21, 2016 after serving more than five years in detention.
The trials of the members of ACPRA were void and baseless, ALQST says. The ACPRA members were found guilty for founding a civil association that carried out legitimate activities, and therefore the verdicts passed on them are void and baseless. In ALQST’s view, banning peaceful activities is a major cause of non-peaceful activities, and of widespread abuses by the authorities when there is no one to document them or criticise them.
ALQST calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all members of ACPRA and all prisoners of conscience. It urges everyone to press the Saudi authorities to do this, and to respect and protect human rights.