Update 20 April 2015: On the 20th of April 2015 the prison cell of detained activist Abu al-Khair had been searched and his personal belongings vandalized. He was also assaulted warranting medical attention at the prison hospital. Al-Khair often defends the basic rights for his fellow prisoners of conscience and it is believed that this attack was in retaliation to his activities. Al-Khair has since lodged a formal complaint in relation to his mistreatment inside Al-Hayer prison which has largely been ignored.
Update 26 February 2015: On the 15th of February 2015, the Specialised Criminal Court of Appeal in Saudi Arabia upheld the sentencing decision of the SCC in the case of Al-Khair. Al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by a 15 year travel ban upon release and a fine equating to fine of 200,000 SR (approximately US$53,300/ 30,000 GBP)
Waleed Sami Abu al-Khair, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist. Founder and Director of Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, 15th April 2014, Waleed was arrested during the fifth session of his trial at the Specialized Criminal Court, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was taken to Al Ha’ir prison in the middle of his trial. On the preceding day, we were informed that he had been remanded there but the circumstances surrounding his arrest were unclear.
A week after Waleed’s illegal detention at Al-Ha’ir Prison it had been confirmed that he was being subjected to ill treatment in solitary confinement, amounting to torture. Waleed was being exposed to bright lights directly onto his face constantly to deprive him of sleep. The long term effects of sleep deprivation can adversely affect the brain and cognitive functions. Waleed was also denied access to his lawyers, his wife and family. This appeared to be in retaliation by the authorities against his human rights activities. As Waleed’s trial was still on-going at the Specialized Criminal Court, it appeared that the authorities’ motive in pursuing methods of torture was to ensure that he stops his human rights activities.
On Sunday, 27th April 2014, Waleed was transferred from the detention center for the Criminal Investigation in Riyadh to Al Malaz Prison. The Director of the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution, Abdulwahal Al Sudairi, confirmed that Waleed had originally been detained by an order issues by Judge Yusuf Gormallah Al Gambi, who is presiding in Waleed’s case under Article 123 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
For over a decade, Waleed has been targeted by the Saudi authorities for his peaceful human rights activates and has been banned from traveling abroad. Despite the increasing pressure and his continuous harassment by the authorities, Waleed continued to promote the very basic fundamental human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Waleed had been previously arrested and tried at the Court of Appeal in Makkah. He was sentenced to 3 months in prison. However, he was tried again under similar charges at the Specialised Criminal Court, a court set up to look into issues of terrorism. He was deemed competent in the Criminal Court which does not carry the legal status of legitimacy. The charges brought against him include:
- Breaking allegiance to the ruler
- Disrespecting the authorities
- Creating an unauthorized association, supervising it ( MHRSA ) and contributing to the establishment of other ( ACPRA ).
- Inciting public opinion
Waleed is the head of the MHRSA; he is a member of Front Line Defenders and a human rights activist. Waleed is a practicing lawyer in Saudi Arabia and defends high profile human rights activists and political reformers. In 2012, Waleed won the Swedish Olof Palme Prize for his strong, self-sacrificing and sustained struggle to promote respect for human and civil rights for both men and women. Waleed is known for his media presence and was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Arabs on Twitter. Waleed has a Bachelors in Arabic language from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and a Masters in Islamic Jurisprudence from Yarmouk University in Jeddah.
We at ALQST, place the responsibility for Waleed health and safety on the authorities. We need your support to apply pressure on the authorities to ensure his speedy release.
Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:
Urging the Saudi authorities to release Waleed without any terms attached. Stop the hearing in the Specialised Criminal Court as it is not allowed to adjudicate in Waleed case. To afford Waleed his fundamental rights to enjoy his life with dignity, liberty and security Urging the authorizes to ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment
PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO:
* King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior)
+966114033125 (please keep trying)
* Minister of the Interior Prince Mohammed bin Naif
Ministry of the Interior, P.O. Box 2933
Airport Road, Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966114033125 (keep trying)
* Minister of Justice
Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa
Ministry of Justice
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: + 966114011741
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country and decision makers.