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Saudi Arabia: Prominent Human Rights Defender and Judge Arrested

[Shaykh Suliaman Al-Rashudi. Photo from gc4hr.org] [Shaykh Suliaman Al-Rashudi. Photo from gc4hr.org]

[The following report was issued by the Gulf Center for Human Rights on 16 December 2012.]

Saudi Arabia: Arrest and detention of prominent human rights defender, lawyer and former judge, head of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) Sheikh Suliaman Al-Rashudi

On the morning of Wednesday, 12 December 2012, prominent human rights defender, lawyer, former judge, and head of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA),  Sheikh Suliaman Al-Rashudi, was arrested as he was on his way to the Qassim region. According to some reports, he was taken to the detention centre at "Naif Academy for Security Sciences," located in the east of Riyadh city. The arrest comes hours after the publication of a lecture given by Sheikh Al-Rashudi entitled "the rule of demonstrations and sit-ins in Islamic law" in which he explained the legality of peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins to claim confiscated rights.

Sheikh Al-Rashudi was arrested several times in the past, including his arrest on 2 February 2007 by officials from the Directorate of General Investigations (DGI) in Jeddah, together with eight other advocates of reform and defense of civil rights who have been named "Reformists of Jeddah." He spent nearly five years in a continued detention, during which time he was transferred between prisons in Jeddah. On 22 June 2011, Sheikh Al-Rashudi  has been released on bail.

The nine detainees, including Sheikh Al-Rashudi, were convicted of alleged involvement in and forming of a secret organization, attempting to seize power, incitement against the King, financing terrorism, and money laundering.  On 22 November 2011, the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh handed out on the nine prominent advocates of reform prison sentences ranged from five to thirty years, where Suliaman Al-Rashudi  sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment and a fifteen-year travel ban following release. Although the case is at the appeal stage in the very same court, the Saudi Interior Ministry used the verdict to arrest Sheikh Salman Al-Rashudi and imprison him.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights expresses serious concern over the arrest and detention of Sheikh Sulaiman Al-Rashudi by the Saudi authorities and believes that these measures are only a direct result of his legitimate and peaceful work in defense of human rights in Saudi Arabia.

The GCHR urges the authorities in Saudi Arabia to:
1.    Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Sheikh Salman Al-Rashudi;
2.    Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Sheikh Salman Al-Rashudi;
3.  Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in KSA are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups, and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association, and the right to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters,” and to  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 the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

Please write immediately in English or in Arabic:

 • To express your concern about the continued detention of human rights defender Sheikh Salman Al-Rashudi and to call for his immediate release;

•  To urge the authorities in the Saudi Arabia to immediately stop the targeting of human rights defenders;
Please send appeals now to:

King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax:+966 1 403 3125  
 
Crown Prince and Minister of the Interior
His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin
Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Ministry of the Interior, P.O. Box 2933,
Airport Road
Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: +966 1 403 3125

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