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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Thamir Al-Khidr must be released from Saudi Prison in accordance with the law

Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Thamir Al-Khidr must be released from Saudi Prison in accordance with the law

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Son of human rights activist, 20, tortured and detained despite court ruling for his release

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

1. Summary

Thamer Al-Khdir, son of Saudi Human Rights Activist has been imprisoned since March 2010 due to his actions in speaking out against the injustices of the Saudi government. He has been held in solitary confinement and repeatedly tortured. His detention was ruled as illegal in June 2011 and was ordered to be released by the court. This has been ignored by authorities and he remains behind bars to this day.

2. Background

Thamer Al-Khidr is a human rights defender and the 20 year old son of Dr. Abdul Kareem al-Khidr, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and founding member of the Association of Civil and Political Rights in Saudi Arabia. Both have been ardent activists among Saudi civil society, often promoting constitutional and political reform. In 2008, together they published a frank appeal denouncing Al-Burayda prison where many prisoners of conscience have been detained for years without trial.

Thamer himself was arrested on 3 March 2010 and taken to Al Hayr prison where he was held in incommunicado detention for more than three and a half months. During this time he was kept in solitary confinement and experienced psychological and physical torture. He has suffered from hearing loss due to nerve damage in his right ear after investigators slapped him continuously and repeatedly hit his head to the ground. Despite this he was still denied access to any medical care and his health has thus deteriorated. More than 7 months after his arrest, no charges were made against him and he was denied any legal representation.  

On 8 June 2011, the First Administrative Circuit Court in the Riyadh Board of Grievances issued a verdict ruling that Thamer was indeed detained arbitrarily by the Directorate of General Investigations (DGI) and that he must be released. This was based primarily on Article 114 of the Saudi Criminal Procedure Law. To this day, however, Thamer remains imprisoned in clear violation of the ruling of the court to which the DGI lawyers never attended a single hearing.

3. Action Required

Write to the following authorities requesting to urge the Saudi Arabian government to free Thamer Al-Khidr 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 Thamer Al-Khidr

I am deeply concerned over the imprisonment of a Saudi human rights activist Mr. Thamer Al-Khidr who is the son of the prominent Dr. Abdul Kareem al-Khidr, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and founding member of the Association of Civil and Political Rights in Saudi Arabia.

As a young boy of 20 years old, Thamer has ardently spoken out for freedom of expression and justice throughout his society; a democratic value that is an individual’s right. In retaliation the Saudi authorities detained him in incommunicado for several months and have psychologically and physically tortured him continuously. He was denied any form of medical care despite experiencing head injuries and hearing loss as a result of this torture. Furthermore, the First Administrative Circuit Court in the Riyadh Board of Grievances actually issued a verdict ruling that Thamer was indeed detained arbitrarily by the Directorate of General Investigations (DGI) and that he must be released.

This ruling has been completely ignored by the authorities and the DGI. Thamer remains imprisoned to this day.

I urge you to call on your Saudi counterparts to look into the matter and arrange for his immediate release according to the ruling. 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 Thamer Al-Khidr with his most basic of 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 Thamer Al-Khidr

I am deeply concerned over the imprisonment of a Saudi human rights activist Mr. Thamer Al-Khidr who is the son of  Dr. Abdul Kareem al-Khidr, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and founding member of the Association of Civil and Political Rights in Saudi Arabia.

As a young boy of 20 years old, Thamer has spoken out for freedom of expression and justice throughout his civil society due to his concern for others. In retaliation the Saudi authorities detained him in incommunicado for several months and have psychologically and physically tortured him continuously. He was denied any form of medical care despite experiencing head injuries and hearing loss as a result of this torture. Furthermore, the First Administrative Circuit Court in the Riyadh Board of Grievances actually issued a verdict ruling that Thamer was indeed detained arbitrarily by the Directorate of General Investigations (DGI) and that he must be released.

DGI attorneys failed to show up to any of the hearings regarding this case and this ruling has been completely ignored by the authorities. Thamer remains imprisoned to this day.

I urge you to call on the Saudi government to look into the matter and arrange for his immediate release in accordance with the ruling. 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 Thamer Al-Khidr 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:  613-995-1851

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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