Ill-treatment and harassment of Mr. Waleed Abu Al-Khair, prominent human rights lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair

Waleed Abulkhair

Waleed Abulkhair

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ill-treatment and harassment of Mr. Waleed Abu Al-Khair, prominent human rights lawyer, Founder and Director of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA).

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

SAU 001 / 0415 / OBS 035
Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatment
Saudi Arabia
April 23, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Saudi Arabia.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ill-treatment and harassment of Mr. Waleed Abu Al-Khair, prominent human rights lawyer, Founder and Director of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA) [1]. Mr. Abu Al-Khair acted as lawyer for human rights defender Raif Badawi. In 2012, he was awarded the Olof Palme Prize for human rights for his “strong, self-sacrificing and sustained struggle to promote respect for human and civil rights for both men and women in Saudi Arabia”.

According to the information received, on April 18, 2015, Mr. Abu Al-Khair, who faces continued harassment in prison, lodged a complaint to the prison administration regarding beatings happened on the same day. To date the complaint has not been considered.

On April 21, 2015, as retaliation for lodging the complaint, Mr. Abu Al-Khair, was beaten, threatened and insulted by another prisoner in Al-Ha’ir rehabilitation prison in Riyadh, where he has been detained since his transfer from Malaz prison on February 4, 2015. Later on, policemen came to the cell of Mr. Abu Al-Khair and threw all his belongings on the ground, searching for prohibited items.

The Observatory fears that said harassment stems from Mr. Abu Al-Khair’s action for the respect of the rights of prisoners in prison.

Mr. Abu Al-Khair was arrested on April 15, 2014 while appearing at the fifth session of his trial before the Specialized Criminal Court, which deals with terrorism cases, in Riyadh. On February 15, 2015, the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal in Riyadh confirmed a sentence of 15 years in prison, a travel ban of equal duration following imprisonment, and a fine of SR 200,000 (approximately EUR 46,957). The charges against him were “striving to overthrow the state and the authority of the King”, “criticising and insulting the judiciary”, “assembling international organisations against the Kingdom”, “creating and supervising an unlicensed organisation”, and “contributing to the establishment of another” and “preparing and storing information that will affect public security” [2].

Furthermore, the Observatory recalls that Mr. Abu Al-Khair’s sixth transfer since the beginning of his detention to a prison located approximately 1,000 km away from his home city came without any warning and after his refusal to recognise the legitimacy of the trial court and to apologise.

The Observatory is greatly concerned by the arbitrary detention and allegations of ill-treatment of Mr. Abu Al-Khair, and jointly with other human rights organisations referred his case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [3].

The Observatory therefore reiterates its calls on the Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Abu Al-Khair, as his conviction is aimed at preventing him from carrying out his legitimate human rights activities in Saudi Arabia.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Saudi Arabia asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Abu Al-Khair, as well as of all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Abu Al-Khair, as well as all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Abu Al-Khair and all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrance and fear of reprisal;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratify international and regional human rights instruments and harmonise its domestic law with international human rights instruments.

Addresses:

· His Majesty, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, Office of His Majesty the King, Royal Court, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125
· H.E. Shaykh Dr Mohammed bin Abdulkareem Al-Issa, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, University Street, Riyadh 11137, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: + 966 11 401 1741 / + 966 11 402 0311
· His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of Interior, Ministry of the Interior, P.O. Box 2933, Airport Road, Riyadh 11134, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: +966 11 403 3125
· H.E. Mr. Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Route de Lausanne 263, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 758 00 00. Email: saudi.mission.ch@mofa.gov.sa
· H.E. Mr. Abdulrahman bin Soliman Al-Ahmed, Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Avenue Franklin Rosevelt, 45 1050 Brussels – Belgium. Fax: +32 2 6468538. Email: beemb@mofa.gov.sa

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Saudi Arabia in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, April 23, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To see the source click here

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