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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Human rights activist jailed for speaking out against injustice

Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Human rights activist jailed for speaking out against injustice

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Dr Mubarak Aal-Zuair, akhbaralarab.net

IHRC is deeply concerned over the imprisonment of human rights activist Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair. He was jailed for appealing for the release of many detainees currently being held illegally in Saudi jails.

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter


1. Summary

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned over the imprisonment of human rights activist Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair. He was jailed for appealing for the release of many detainees currently being held illegally in Saudi jails.

Many detainees in Saudi Arabia are denied the right to a trial, or the right to an attorney, and end up languishing in prison for many years.

Dr. Mubarak has managed to have a letter of his smuggled from prison. In this letter, he provides an account of the severity of the punishment he faces, and requests that immediate action is taken against his illegal detention.


2. Background

Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair, 45 years old, was arrested on 20th March 2011, after having appealed at the Ministry of Interior on behalf of the families of detainees calling for their release.

Dr. Mubarak, along with the families of the detainees, had attempted to organise a meeting at the Ministry of Interior to request the application of Article 114 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, which specifies that the maximum period of detention can only be six months. After this period, detainees are required by law to be either referred to a court for trial, or released. They were forced to remain outside the Ministry awaiting permission to enter – which was never granted.

Later, Dr. Mubarak received a phone call from Deputy Minister of Interior, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who set an appointment to meet him the following Friday under the condition that the crowds be dispersed. He passed this message on, and the crowd was dispersed.

During the meeting, Prince Nayef guaranteed that the release of the detainees in question would shortly follow, and that he was permitted to deliver this message to the families of detainees.

As he travelled to the Ministry of Interior the following morning to inform the families of the outcome of this meeting, he was stopped, searched and handcuffed without charge. The police failed to present him with an arrest warrant, and refused to let him contact his family or lawyer. Dr. Mubarak was also later denied visitations. He was then interrogated by police officers.

On 22nd March 2011 he was transferred to Al-Malaz police station and placed under solitary confinement inside a toilet cubicle, with nothing on the floor to sleep on, and barely any room to stand. He was kept in these inhuman and unsanitary conditions despite suffering from medical conditions that require special care.

He wrote: “some people abuse their authority and exploit their positions within the security apparatus to violate human rights, and degrade their sense of humanity in the most harsh and despicable fashion.” He called for immediate action to be taken to ensure that he is released, and that those responsible for his illegal detention are brought to justice.

Dr. Mubarak is a highly esteemed assistant professor at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University, and a researcher specialised in new media studies.

3. Action required

Write to the senior UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Foreign Secretary of your country, and to the Saudi authorities. Urge them to respect the human rights of detainees; and either bring them to a fair trial or release them immediately.


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) UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention


[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Mr. Malick El Hadji Sow
Chair Rapporter of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
8-14, avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
facsimile: +41 22 9179006
e-mail: wgad@ohchr.org


Dear Mr Sow, Chair Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest


Re: Arbitrary detention of Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair

I am writing to convey my outrage over the continued detention of Saudi human rights activists by the Saudi government.

Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair, a 45 year old university professor, was arrested on 20th March 2011, while appealing at the Ministry of Interior for the release of a group of detainees.

Dr. Mubarak had attended a meeting at the Ministry of Interior requesting the application of Article 114 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, which specifies a maximum period of detention of six months; after which detainees must either be referred to a court for trial or released. Aal-Zuair was assured by Deputy Minister of the Interior Prince Mohamed bin Nayef that releases would soon follow, and was given permission to deliver this message to the families of the detainees.

The next morning, as he headed towards the Ministry of Interior to inform these families of the outcome of the meeting, he was stopped, searched and handcuffed without reason by policemen. The police failed to present an arrest warrant, and refused to let him contact his family or lawyer; later also denying him visitations. He was then interrogated by the police.

On 22nd March 2011 he was transferred to Al-Malaz police station and placed under solitary confinement inside a toilet cubicle, with nothing on the floor to sleep on, and barely any room to stand. He was kept in these inhuman and unsanitary conditions despite suffering from medical conditions that require special care.

I urge you to investigate the case of Dr. Mubarak and ensure that he is released immediately, and given proper and fair treatment by the judicial authorities.

The Saudi government must be made to respect the dignity of its citizens, and stop violating their basic human rights. Those responsible for such acts should also be held accountable in order for these practices to cease being institutionalised.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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b) British Foreign-Secretary William Hague


[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

William Hague,
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London,
SW1A 2AH,
United Kingdom
E-mail: haguew@parliament.uk

Dear Rt Hon. Foreign-Minister William Hague,

Re: Arbitrary detention of Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair

I am writing to convey my outrage over the continued detention of Saudi human rights activists by the Saudi government.

Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair, a 45 year old university professor, was arrested on March 20th, 2011, while appealing at the Ministry of Interior for the release of a group of detainees.

Dr. Mubarak had attended a meeting at the Ministry of Interior requesting the application of Article 114 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, which specifies a maximum period of detention of six months; after which detainees must either be referred to a court for trial or released. Dr. Mubarak was assured by Deputy Minister of the Interior Prince Mohamed bin Nayef that releases would soon follow, and was given permission to deliver this message to the families of the detainees.

The next morning, as he headed towards the Ministry of Interior to inform these families of the outcome of the meeting, he was stopped, searched and handcuffed without reason by policemen. The police failed to present an arrest warrant, and refused to let him contact his family or lawyer; later also denying him visitations. He was then interrogated by the police.

On 22nd March 2011 he was transferred to Al-Malaz police station and placed in solitary confinement inside a toilet cubicle, with nothing on the floor to sleep on, and barely any room to stand. He was kept in these inhuman and unsanitary conditions despite suffering from medical conditions that require special care.

Dr. Mubarak and many thousands of others are currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia without trial. Denied access to lawyers, or even being charged with any crimes, many are currently languishing in prisons.

I urge you to investigate the case of Dr. Mubarak and ensure that he is released immediately, and given proper and fair treatment by the judicial authorities.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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b) His Royal Highness Prince Nayef bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud,


[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior,
His Royal Highness Prince Nayef bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud,
Ministry of the Interior,
P.O. Box 2933,
Airport Road,
Riyadh 11134,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Fax: +966 1 403 3125


Your Royal Highness Prince Nayef bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Al-Saud,

Re: Arbitrary detention of Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair

I am writing to convey my outrage over the continued detention of Saudi human rights activists by the Saudi government.

Dr. Mubarak Aal-Zuair, a 45 year old university professor, was arrested on March 20th, 2011, while appealing at the Ministry of Interior for the release of a group of detainees.

Mubarak had attended a meeting at the Ministry of Interior requesting the application of Article 114 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, which specifies a maximum period of detention of six months; after which detainees must either be referred to a court for trial or released. Dr. Aal-Zuair was assured by Deputy Minister of the Interior Prince Mohamed bin Nayef that releases would soon follow, and was given permission to deliver this message to the families of the detainees.

The next morning, as he headed towards the Ministry of Interior to inform these families of the outcome of the meeting, he was stopped, searched and handcuffed without reason by policemen. The police failed to present an arrest warrant, and refused to let him contact his family or lawyer; later also denying him visitations. He was then interrogated by the police.

On 22nd March 2011 he was transferred to Al-Malaz police station and placed under solitary confinement inside a toilet cubicle, with nothing on the floor to sleep, and barely any room to stand. He was kept in these inhuman and unsanitary conditions despite suffering from medical conditions that require special care.

I urge you to use your authority to ensure the immediate release of Dr. Mubarak. I also demand that you investigate this case further, and bring those responsible for this miscarriage of justice be reprimanded, and made an example of.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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