Prisoners of Conscience

Activist Al-Rabiah to be referred to terrorism court

Human rights sources revealed that the Al Saud authorities had referred the lawsuit of detained activist Muhammad Al-Rabiah to the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh (the Terrorism Court).

This came in a tweet by human rights activist Bethany Al-Haidari, which confirmed the transfer of Al-Rabiah to the Specialized Criminal Court following his trial session.

Al-Rabiah will be tried on terrorism-related charges amid claims by Saudi prosecutors for a 25-year prison sentence.

Al-Haidari indicated that Al-Rabiah will appear before the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh two weeks from now.

The Saudi lawyer and human rights defender, Yahya Al-Asiri, commented on this news by saying: “Al-Rabiah is a patriotic man who deserves to be appreciated, and the authorities face him with imprisonment and torture! Freedom for Muhammad and all prisoners of conscience.

“Muhammad Al-Rabiah is facing politicized charges related to his support for women’s causes,” said the Saudi opposition academic, Abdullah Al-Awda.

Meanwhile, activist Areej Al-Sadhan said: “It is terrifying that the Specialized Criminal Court under the ruling of Muhammad bin Salman (Saudi Arabia’s Terrorism Court) has become a tool of repression and intimidation of peaceful activists and their families.”

“Freedom of expression is not terrorism,” she added.

The Al Saud authorities launched a campaign of arrests in May 2018, including the activist Muhammad Al-Rabiah.

The arrest campaign included: Dr Muhammad Al-Rabiah, Dr Ibrahim Al-Modaimegh, activist Loujain Al-Hathloul, activist Aziza Al-Youssef, and activist Eman Al-Nafjan.

He and others have been charged with allegedly communicating suspiciously with external parties while supporting their activities and recruiting people working for sensitive government websites.

They were also charged with providing financial support to hostile elements abroad to undermine the security and stability of the Kingdom and its social peace and undermine national cohesion.

Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Middle East affairs at the organization, described the reform campaign of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “a terror affecting those calling for human rights and women’s empowerment, and that prison is the fate of those who express doubts about the crown prince’s program.”

The organization stated that the Saudi authorities have consistently arrested opponents and protesters.

The human rights report revealed the Al Saud authorities’ behaviour, new trends of torture in their prisons since Prince Muhammad bin Salman assumed the Covenant mandate in 2017.

The ALQST Organization for Human Rights report, in cooperation with the Gulf Center for Human Rights, affirmed that the absence of basic legal guarantees to prevent torture creates an environment that enables its practice.

ALQST said that the absence of legal guarantees facilitates legal legislations, such as some articles of the anti-terrorism system, and may even encourage it and an environment in which impunity will prevail.

The human rights report titled “Torture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a Culture of Impunity” described the practice of torture as “systematic” to extract confessions during the investigation.

It pointed out that the Al Saud authorities take torture as a form of punishment while in detention. Although prisoners have reported their torture to the courts, the police have not conducted any investigations into these allegations.

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