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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Demand the release of reformist Dr. Al-Hashimi from his illegal imprisonment

Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Demand the release of reformist Dr. Al-Hashimi from his illegal imprisonment

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Doctor imprisoned and severely tortured for promoting free speech and accountability throughout Saudi civil society.

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action Required
4. Sample letter
5. Addresses for sample letters

1. Summary
Dr. Sa’ud Mukhtar Al-Hashimi, 47, was arrested in Saudi Arabia by Saudi secret forces and has been detained since 2 February 2007. He has been a prominent figure of the “reformers” movement which has called for constitutional reform and democratic rights in the country. Over the past five years, he has been physically and psychologically tortured and was not brought before a judge until 2011. His detention has been deemed arbitrary and illegal by those advocating for his rights in Saudi as well as the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. He remains imprisoned until today.

2. Background

On 2 February 2007 in the late hours of the night, Dr. Sa’ud al-Hashimi was arrested in Saudi Arabia along with 8 other well-known personalities in Saudi civil society as they met to discuss a constitution for their committee for the defence of civil and political freedoms.  Dr. Al-Hashimi himself is a medical doctor and faculty member at the King Abdulaziz University and before his arrest was often present in Arab media offering his opinions on various topics. One of his recordings called for greater transparency into the research centres of academics and religious scholars which would promote an open and accountable society. His arrest was justified by the Ministry of Interior, General Mansur al-Turki, due Al- Hashimi’s alleged support of terrorism and illegal activities. His detention, however, is in violation of articles 9, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For the first 14 months of his detention in Ruwais prison, he was in solitary confinement and severely tortured. In June 2009, Dr. Al-Hashimi began a hunger strike in protest of his unfair detention. This prompted retaliation from Saudi authorities by torturing him with beatings and long periods of cold and hot temperatures. He was held in a cell without light and was denied medical care which has caused his diabetes and chronic digestive disease to severely deteriorate since his detention.

In January 2010, after being transferred to a prison in Riyadh, he was told he would be brought before a judge. This prompted him to a hire a lawyer, but in early November 2010, Dr. Al-Hashimi was tortured using electric shock in retribution for attempting to have a fair trial. Finally, in January 2011, as his condition worsened, he was brought before a judge twice. During this period he was tortured by being stripped and held in a cold room for four days in an effort to pressure him into accepting the charges against him. The judge finally sentenced the Doctor on 22 November 2011 to 30 years’ imprisonment, 30 years travel ban following his release and a fine of 2 million riyals (approximately £342,000). To this day, he remains in solitary confinement and is constantly monitored by a camera.

3. Action Required
Write to the following authorities requesting to urge the Saudi Arabian government to free Dr. Saud al-Hashimi from his illegal imprisonment. 

a) Minister of foreign affairs in your country, urging him/her to raise this issue with his/her Saudi counterpart. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address, fax and email on the sample letter below.

b) Saudi ambassador in your country. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address and email on the sample letter below.
 
4. Sample letter

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A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.
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a. Minister of foreign affairs in your country. (UK campaigners can write using the address supplied below, fax: +44 (0)20 7839 2417 or email: private.office@fco.gov.uk)

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Rt. Hon. William Hague
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London, SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr. Hague,

Re: The ongoing detention of human rights activist Dr. Sa’ud Al-Hashimi

I am deeply concerned over the imprisonment of a Saudi human rights activist and faculty member at King Abdulaziz University, Dr. Sa’ud al-Hashimi by Saudi officials in February 2007. His detention was quite evidently due to his work on promoting civil liberties, democracy and constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia. He has been denied all his fundamental rights guaranteed by international conventions and statutory Saudi laws. As you are likely aware, this case transpires within the context of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing and unacceptable arbitrary detention of activists.

Over the past three years, Dr. Al- Hashimi has been severely tortured and placed in solitary confinement. He has experienced beatings, electric shock, and long periods of freezing then hot temperatures, shackled in a cell with no light and limited visitation rights. Since detention, he has been systematically denied access to any medical care which has subsequently caused his health to severely deteriorate.

Finally, in January 2011, as his condition worsened, he was brought before a judge twice. During this period he was again tortured by being stripped and held in a cold room for four days in an effort to pressure him into accepting the charges against him. The judge finally sentenced the Doctor on 22 November 2011 to an extortionate 30 years’ imprisonment, 30 years travel ban following his release and a fine of 2 million riyals (approximately £342,000). To this day, he remains in solitary confinement and is constantly monitored by a camera.

I urge you to call on your Saudi counterparts to look into the matter and arrange for his immediate release and an apology for his detention. This ongoing detention of individuals who are clearly trying to express their right to freedom of speech must not be tolerated by the British government who claims to stand for justice. Please call on the Saudi government to provide Dr. Al-Hashimi with his basic human rights and release him from this illegal imprisonment.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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b. Saudi Ambassador in your country. (UK campaigners can write using the address supplied below, email: ukemb@mofa.gov.sa)

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
30 Charles Street
London
W1J 5DZ

Your Excellency,

Re: The ongoing detention of human rights activist Dr. Al-Hashimi

I am deeply concerned over the imprisonment of a Saudi human rights activist and faculty member at King Abdulaziz University, Dr. Sa’ud al-Hashimi by Saudi officials in February 2007. His detention was quite evidently due to his work on promoting civil liberties, democracy and constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia. He has been denied all his fundamental rights guaranteed by international conventions and statutory Saudi laws. As you are likely aware, this case transpires within the context of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing and unacceptable arbitrary detention of activists.

Over the past three years, Dr. Al- Hashimi has been severely tortured and placed in solitary confinement. He has experienced beatings, electric shock, and long periods of freezing then hot temperatures, shackled in a cell with no light and limited visitation rights. Since detention, he has been systematically denied access to any medical care which has subsequently caused his health to severely deteriorate.

Finally, in January 2011, as his condition worsened, he was brought before a judge twice. During this period he was again tortured by being stripped and held in a cold room for four days in an effort to pressure him into accepting the charges against him. The judge finally sentenced the Doctor on 22 November 2011 to an extortionate 30 years’ imprisonment, 30 years travel ban following his release and a fine of 2 million riyals (approximately £342,000). To this day, he remains in solitary confinement and is constantly monitored by a camera.

I urge you to call on the Saudi government to look into the matter and arrange for his immediate release and an apology for his detention. This ongoing detention of individuals who are clearly trying to express their right to freedom of speech in your country must not be tolerated. Please call on the Saudi government to provide Dr. Al-Hashimi with his basic human rights and release him from this illegal imprisonment.

I look forward to hearing back from you regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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5. Address for sample letters

a) Minister of foreign affairs in Canada.

Canadian campaigners can write to:

Minister of Foreign Affairs – John Baird
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1A 0G2

Telephone:  613-995-185

b) Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia
Australian campaigners can write to:

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Telephone: 02 6277 7500

c) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia

Indonesian campaigners can write to:

Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Jl. Pejambon No.6.
Jakarta Pusat, 10110
Indonesia

Telephone: (+62 21) 344 15 08

d) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia

Malaysian campaigners can write to:

Honourable Dato' Sri Anifah Hj. Aman
Wisma Putra, No 1, Jalan Wisma Putra,
Precint 2, 62602 PUTRAJAYA
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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below
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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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