Urgent Alert: SAUDI ARABIA – Protest death sentences and detentions

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[photo:lh5.ggpht.com]

Contents

Summary

Background

Action Required

1. Summary

Over the last two months, Saudi courts have issued death sentences against 5 religious leaders and human rights activists. These activists have been criminalised for voicing dissent against the government and holding peaceful political gatherings. 

In addition, there is reason to be concerned for opposition figure and Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, detained since 8 July 2012 for having criticised the active role of Saudi armed forces in suppressing the pro-democracy revolution in Bahrain. The final hearing was expected on 12 August, but the Saudi court postponed the hearing to to 24tAugust.

Moreover, Mohammed Saleh Al Zenadi, who was arrested on 23 May 2012, is also expected to be sentenced to death in his hearing, which was scheduled to have been held on 20 August 2014, according to the public prosecutor’s appeal.

In the light of these emerging facts, IHRC urges all campaigners to demand that the Saudi Courts of Justice revoke existing death sentences and refrain from passing more against all prisoners of conscience.

3. Background

The massive Arab uprisings in 2011, demanding greater freedom and equality, did not leave Saudi Arabia unaffected. 

In late January 2011, street protests started in Jedda, and soon afterwards other protests flared up throughout the country. All the protests demanded more liberty, constitutional changes and an end to anti-Shia discrimination. In the following year, new protests against the Saudi authorities’ decision to send troops to quell the revolt in Bahrain broke out in the Eastern province, where the charismatic leader Sheykh Al-Nimr criticised the government’s policies and demanded constitutional reform. During these protests security forces used live fire against protestors, killing many and starting a series of arrests against demonstrators and the medical personnel who treated them. 

During one of these protests in July 2012, Sheykh Al-Nimr was shot by police in the leg and arrested in what police described as an exchange of gunfire. Since then, Skeykh al-Nimr became a symbol of the uprising, and his arrest provoked an intensification of the protests calling for his immediate release and an escalation of violence by the Saudi security forces. In the meantime, while still detained, al-Nimr showed clear signs of torture, such as bruises on his face and broken teeth. In protest at his continuing detention and maltreatment he started a hunger strike. 

According to reports, about 30 to 50 people were arrested after the Jeddah demonstration in January 2011. In later years arrests rose dramatically. Today there are approximately 160 protestors detained as a direct result of the pro-reform protests, to add to the existing number of political prisoners.

The five defendants sentenced to death are: Reda Jafar Al-Rebh, Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr, Ali Abdullah Al-Atell, Ali Saeed Al-Rebh, Mohammed Faisal Al-Sheiukh. The seven defendants still awaiting verdicts in their cases are:  Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al Nimr; Mohammed Saleh Al-Znadi; Dawoud Hussain Al-Marhon; Abdullah Hassan Al-Zaher; Haider Ali Al-Humely; Hussain Abbas Al-Baiabi; Bander Khalid Abu Sharar.

The General Attorney of Saudi Arabia based his demand for execution upon the crime of Hiraba, “banditry”, along with charges of terrorism, incitement to riot, sectarianism and interference in affairs of other states. His entire case was built on evidence from confessions obtained through torture and duress.

IHRC strongly criticises the silence and lack of action from the international community regarding the situation in Saudi Arabia, and expresses its deep concern over the fate of the detainees, who have been or are being held and/or tried in blatant violation of accepted international human rights standards. 

3. Action required

IHRC is urging campaigners and activists to demand that the Saudi Courts of Justice set aside the death sentence against the 5 political opponents sentenced to death, and drop immediately the charges against the other 7 activists awaiting verdicts in their cases.

A sample letter is provided 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 monitor the effectiveness of our campaigns.

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Please write to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in your country to express your  opposition to his country’s actions. 

Address and contact details are given as for the following countries: UK, Malaysia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Australia, USA, Canada, Germany.

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in London

His Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz 

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in London

30 Charles Street, 

London W1J 5DZ

UK

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

His Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, 

Re: Drop the charges against Sheykh Al-Nimr and all the other detainees awaiting trial; Revoke death sentences against Reda Jafar Al-Rebh, Ali Mohammed Al-Nimr, Ali Abdullah Al-Atell, Ali Saeed Al-Rebh, Mohammed Faisal Al-Sheiukh 

I am deeply disturbed by your silence/lack of action regarding human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Over the whole country, but even more so in the regions like Qatif in Saudi Arabia, people are barred from their right to religious and political dissent. 

Since political protests began in January 2011, about 160 people have been arrested, with many others kept in detention without being officially recorded. As a response to the pro-democracy protests, Saudi Arabian authorities have persistently implemented repressive policies that stifle freedom of expression, association and assembly, and issued long-term sentences against many protestors. 

In addition, deep concern arises over the Saudi Justice’s sentence on the political opposition activist and  cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, detained since 8 July 2012 for having criticised the active support of Saudi Forces in quelling the pro-democracy revolution in Bahrain. The verdict was expected on Sunday, 24 August.

For all these reasons, we call on Saudi Arabia to retry all the people involved in line with the principle of due process, guaranteeing their right to a fair trial and protection from torture or other inhuman acts, and remedying all those cases in which such rights have been violated. Last but not least, Saudi authorities should prosecute and punish all those responsible for torturing prisoners.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]

[Your name]

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Malaysia

H.E. Fahad bin Abdulllah Al-Rasheed 

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Kuala Lumpur

Level 4, Wisma Chinese Chamber, No.258, 

Jalan Ampang,50450 Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

His Excellency Fahad bin Abdulllah Al-Rasheed,

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Turkey

Mr Abdulhadi M.A. Al Shafi

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Ankara

Turan Emeksiz sok no. 6

06700 G.O.P.

Ankara

Turkey

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Mr. Abdulhadi M.A. Al Shafi,

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Pakistan

Mr. Abdulaziz bin Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer 

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Islamabad

No. 14, North Service Road, Diplomatic Enclave,G-4, 

Islamabad

Pakistan

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Mr. Abdulaziz bin Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer,

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Iran,

H.E. Dr. Sbdulrahman bin Gharman Al-Shehri

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Kuala Lumpur

 Pasdaran Street –  Khayaban Iassadran – Bostan – Niloofar – b (1)

Teheran

Iran

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

His Excellency Dr. Sbdulrahman bin Gharman Al-Shehri,

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Germany

Dr. Usama Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi – 

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Berlin

Tiergatenstrasse 33-34 / 10785 

Berlin

Germany

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Dr. Usama Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi, 

Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Canada

H.E. Osamah al Sanosi Ahmad

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Ottawa

Ottawa 201 Sussex Drive K1 N1 K6 Ottawa,

Ontario 

Canada

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

His Excellency Osamah al Sanosi Ahmad,

h) Saudi Arabia Ambassador in USA

H.E. Adel Ahmad Al-Jubair 

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Washington

Saudi Embassy Washington, DC 601 New Hampshire Ave., 

NW Washington, DC 20038

USA

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

His Excellency Adel Ahmad Al-Jubair,

i) Saudi Arabia Ambassador in Australia

H.E Ambassador / Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Saleh

Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Berlin

38 GuilFoyle Street – Yarralumla ACT 2600 – 

Canberra

Australia

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Date]

His Excellency Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Saleh,

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“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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