3. Action required
The government of Saudi Arabia continued to use arbitrary measures against political activists. Saudi authorities have arrested the members of the newly established “Islamic Omma Party” with no legal grounds.
The founding members of the party have been detained with no charges since Thursday 16 February 2011 until now.
The Islamic Omma Party is considered to be the first political party in Saudi Arabia. The party was formed by a group of nine Saudi intellectuals and political activists, who were aiming to bring political reform forward. The party was announced on Thursday 10February 2011.
On Tuesday 15 February 2011, the party announced an open invitation to all activists in the presence of local and global media and journalists, to hold their first meeting.
In reaction to this announcement, the Saudi authorities arrested and detained almost all the founding members of the party on Wednesday 16 February 2011.
Those detained are: Dr Ahmed bin Sa’ad bin Gharm al-Ghamidi; professor at Umm al-Qura University, Mr Sa’ud bin Ahmed al-Dughaithir ;political activist; Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad al-Wuhaybi; lawyer and political activist; Dr Abdul Kareem bin Yusuf al-Khidhr; university professor, Shaykh Muhammad bin Hussein bin Ghaanim al-Qahtani; businessman, Mr Muhammad bin Naser al-Ghamidi; political activist, Dr Waleed bin Muhammad Abdullah al-Majid; lawyer; doctor of law.
In Saudi Arabia the freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, independent political activities or free press are often restricted in order to prevent criticism of the government.
IHRC condemns the arrest of political reformers by the Saudi authorities and urges them to immediately release the activists and ensure their legal and human rights are protected.
The Saudi government must respect the public freedom and maintain peace and stability in the country, as was called by the party in their first letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
The arrest of activists at this time increases the tension between the government and the citizens and could lead to further repression and anarchy in the country.
3. Action required
Write to the Saudi authorities urging them to immediately release the political activists and to cease from using repressive measures to suppress freedom of expression and other legitimate activities.
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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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