14 Mar 2014
Human Rights Council.
Agenda item. UPR Country – Saudi Arabia
Individual Oral Statement- Islamic Human Rights Commission
Dear Mr President
The Islamic Human Rights Commission would like to draw your attention to ongoing human rights abuses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Over the course of the past three decades Saudi authorities have detained tens of thousands of individuals for expressing dissent against the ruling monarchy. Many of those arrested have never been charged with committing a crime and their treatment, in which stories of torture and degrading treatment feature prominently, demonstrates a complete absence of due process. Our own report of 2011-12 highlights the imprisonment of some 30,000 political detainees.
Political and civil society activism continues to be subject to official sanction with the default position of the Saudi regime being to imprison and thereby silence any form of criticism of its legitimacy and/or policies.
The arrest of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr is a case in point. Al-Nimr is a Shia Muslim scholar who was shot and arrested in 2012 for his outspoken criticism of the Saudi monarchy and his calls for equality and reform. Sheikh al-Nimr was badly tortured and subsequently sentenced to death on trumped up charges of apostasy.
IHRC urges the government of Saudi Arabia to free all political prisoners including Sheikh al-Nimr without delay, permit freedom of assembly and expression in the country, and end all forms of discrimination against Shia Muslims.
Thank you Mr President.