The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), 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 arrest and detention of Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed, two Sudanese social media activists residing in Saudi Arabia, where they continue advocating for the respect of human rights in Sudan.
According to the information received, on December 20, 2016, two units of Saudi security forces arrested Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed, as they were heading to their cars outside their workplace in Riyadh. Following their arrest, they were taken to their homes where four security personnel searched their houses before taking them to an unknown place. No arrest or search warrants were presented during the search and Mr. Waleed Imam was prevented from communicating with his wife who was standing in the next room.
Mr. Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed, whose mobile phone was confiscated during the search, called his wife at around 2 am for only 40 seconds from a prison in Riyadh. They have been held incommunicado since their arrest. No reason for their arrest has been given and their whereabouts remain unknown as of publication of this appeal.
According to information received, several officials of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) would have since arrived in Saudi Arabia in order to interrogate the two above-mentioned human rights defenders.
The Observatory strongly condemns the arrest and incommunicado and secret detention of Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed. These cases illustrate the repressive trend targeting Sudanese human rights defenders residing abroad as the Sudanese Government exercises pressure to harass its nationals carrying out human rights activities abroad.
The Observatory further fear that the two would be at risk of torture and ill-treatment if they were sent back to Sudan, which would be contrary to Saudi Arabia’s obligations under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Torture.
The Observatory urges authorities in Saudi Arabia to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed and release them immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.
Founding members of Abna’ Al-Sahafa (Citizen of Al-Sahafa) in Khartoum, Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed were providing assistance and basic services to Sudanese people in need.
Since they left Sudan to Saudi Arabia for work reasons in 1998 and 2013 respectively, they have remained active in the organisation from Riyadh, providing logistic and financial support for those in need of medicine and medical treatment in Sudan. Moreover, Mr. Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed is managing a Facebook page that has over 80,000 members calling for peaceful political transformation in Sudan. He was active during the recent civil disobedience movement in Sudan.
Please write to the authorities of Saudi Arabia and ask them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed and all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia;
ii. Immediately disclose the whereabouts of Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed and release them immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at sanctioning their human rights activities;
iii. Guarantee the access of Messrs. Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed to their lawyers;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Messrs. Waleed Imam and Algasim Mohamed Sidahmed and all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia;
v. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the UN General Assembly, in particular its Articles 1, 6, 8, 9 and 12.2;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Saudi Arabia, and most notably to comply with Article 3 of the Convention against Torture (CAT), to which Saudi Arabia is a party, which states that “no State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”.
· 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Waleed bin Mohammad Al Samaani, Minister of Justice, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: + 966 11 401 1741 / + 966 11 402 0311 / +966114055399
· His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: +966 11 403 3125; Email: email@example.com
· H.E. Adel bin Ahmed El Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: +966114030645; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· 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: email@example.com
· H.E. Abdulrahman bin Soliman Al-Ahmed, Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 6468538. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to diplomatic representations of Saudi Arabia in your respective countries.