Update 1 December 2016:
Issa al-Hamed’s sentence has been increased from 9 to 11 years in prison followed by an eleven-year travel ban upon release and a fine of 100k SR.
Issa al-Hamid, a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), an independent human rights group, was sentenced on April 24, 2016 to nine years in prison followed by a nine-year travel ban upon release, after a 22-month trial and three postponements of the verdict.
Al-Hamid is a prominent human rights defender, yet he was tried at the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh, which was set up to deal exclusively with terrorism cases. Some of the most serious charges against him were:
* defaming the Council of Religious Scholars;
* insulting the judiciary;
* participating in the establishment of an unlicensed organisation (ACPRA); and
* communicating with international organisations in order to harm the image of the State.
During al-Hamid’s interrogation, which began in November 2013, and his trial, beginning in June 2014, he was subjected to ill-treatment.
Al-Hamid is one of three brothers who have all been convicted and sentenced to prison on similarly vague charges. Dr Abdullah al-Hamid and Dr Abdulrahman al-Hamid were also founding members of ACPRA and have also been detained for their peaceful human rights activities.
We at ALQST urge the Saudi Authorities to to drop all charges against Issa al-Hamid immediately and without any conditions. We also call on the Saudi Authorities to respect international human rights law and take active steps in rectifying their poor human rights record. The international community cannot and will not sit back and watch in silence any longer.