Saudi Arabia: Degradation of the health condition in detention of Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamid

17/04/2020
Urgent Appeal

New information
SAU 001 / 0420 / OBS 035
Arbitrary detention /
Degradation of health condition
Saudi Arabia
April 17, 2020

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary detention and degradation of the health condition of Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid, co-founder member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) [1].

According to the information received, on April 9, 2020, Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid was transferred from Riyadh’s Al-Ha’ir prison to the intensive care unit of a hospital after falling into coma. Mr. Al-Hamid is 69 years old and he is serving an 11-year sentence over charges related to his work with ACPRA.

At the beginning of January 2020, already in a bad health condition, Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid had been transferred to the hospital, where the doctor told him that he urgently needed a heart operation. Prison authorities took Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid back to prison arguing that he would have his operation at the end of May-beginning of June 2020.

The Observatory recalls that on March 9, 2013, Riyadh Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) [2] convicted Mr. Al-Hamid and Mr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, another co-founder of ACPRA, on charges related to their work with ACPRA. Mr. Al Qahtani received a ten-year sentence, while Mr. Al-Hamid was sentenced to five years of imprisonment, in addition to a previous sentence of six years that was upheld. The two human rights defenders also received a travel ban equal to the length of their prison sentence. The court dissolved ACPRA and confiscated its assets, on the accusation that its founders failed to obtain an official license for their organisation.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern about the ongoing arbitrary detention and the deteriorating health of Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid, and recalls that all of ACPRA’s 11 founding members [3] have been prosecuted, sentenced to prison sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years, and subjected to severe treatment by the Saudi authorities for their human rights activities and cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms [4].

The Observatory calls on the Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Al-Hamid, give him immediate access to the medical assistance he urgently requires, and put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Saudi Arabia, urging them to:

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

ii. Immediately and unconditionally provide Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid with the urgent medical care he requires;

iii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid, and all other human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia, since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iv. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Abdullah Al-Hamid and all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals in all circumstances;

iv. Comply in all circumstances with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and instruments ratified by Saudi Arabia.

Addresses:
 
• His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125; Email: info@moi.gov.sa; Twitter: @KingSalman
• His Excellency, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125; Email: info@moi.gov.sa
• H.E. Waleed bin Mohammad Al Samaani, Minister of Justice, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Fax: + 966 11 405 7777; Email: info@moj.gov.sa
• His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: + 966 11 401 1111 / + 966 11 401 1944 / + 966 11 403 1125; Email: info@moi.gov.sa
• H.E. Adel bin Ahmed El Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: + 966 11 403 0645 ; Email: info@mofa.gov.sa
• H.E. Abdulaziz Alwasil, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 758 00 00. Email: saudiamission@bluewin.ch
• H.E. Khalid AlJindan, Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 6468538. Email: beemb@mofa.gov.sa

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Saudi Arabia in your respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Saudi Arabia.
 
***
Paris-Geneva, April 17, 2020
 
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
 
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Created in 2009 by 11 human rights defenders and academics, ACPRA was established to promote and protect fundamental rights and freedoms in Saudi Arabia. While ACPRA was never legally recognised by the government, it was formally banned as an organisation in 2013.
[2] The SCC was set up in 2008 to try acts of terrorism but has instead been used to prosecute human rights defenders and peaceful activists.
[3] It includes Messrs. Essa Al-Hamid (sentenced to 11 years in prison, followed by an 11-year travel ban), Abdulrahman Al-Hamid (sentenced to 9 years in prison, followed by a 9-year travel ban), Abdullah Al-Hamid (sentenced to 11 years in prison and an 11-year travel ban), Abdulkarim Al-Khoder (sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by a 10-year travel ban), Omar Al-Said (sentenced to 7 years in prison and a 10-year travel ban), Mohammed Al-Bajadi  (sentenced to 4 years in prison, 4 years of suspension and a 10-year travel ban, and currently detained since May 2018 as part of a crackdown on women’s rights defenders), Sheikh Sulaiman Al-Rashudi (sentenced to 15 years in prison and a 15-year travel ban), Mohammad Al-Qahtani (sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year travel ban), Saleh Al-Ashwan (sentenced to 5 years in prison followed by a 5-year travel ban), Fowzan Al-Harbi  (sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year travel ban) and Abdulaziz Al-Shubaili (sentenced to 8 years in prison and an 8-year travel and social media ban).
[4] See the Joint Statement published on October 11, 2019 : https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/on-the-10th-anniversary-of-the-establishment-of-acpra-ngos-jointly

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