Prisoners of Conscience

Fears mount for the life of Sheikh Awad Al-Qarni

Fears for the life of prominent preacher Sheikh Awad al-Qarni are mounting as human rights reports of a severe deterioration in his condition and his stay in hospital for weeks have been fueled by torture and deliberate neglect in the prisons of the Saud regime.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has since transformed the prisons of the authorities to human slaughterhouses and mass graves of those who enter it subjected to the worst forms of torture and abuse to the extent of death due to ill-treatment and medical negligence.

Many prisoners of conscience have died in the prisons of the Saudi authorities since the arrival of Mohammed bin Salman to power, including: Sheikh Fahd al-Qadi, Sheikh Suleiman al-Duwaish, Sheikh Ahmed al-Ammari, writer Turki al-Jasser, and Major General Ali al-Qahtani.

Many also died inside the prisons of Saud: the popular artist Mohammed Bani Al-Ruwaili, the young Hassan Al-Ribah, Sheikh Saleh Al-Dumairi, Ahmad Al-Shaya, Bashir Al-Mutlaq, and Mohammed Rasab Al-Hasawi.

It is believed that other names may have died and were not disclosed by the Saudi authorities.

Bin Salman uses the method of repression with all his opponents and all citizens of the Kingdom, as he ruled the Kingdom with an iron fist through the campaigns he supervises and through the physical and psychological torture suffered by the detainees inside the prisons.

According to media and human rights sources, the Saudi authorities postponed the trial of Sheikh Al-Qarni, who was scheduled two days ago because he was in hospital 20 days ago because of his poor health.

On Sunday (27 October), the same court set a date for the verdict against al-Qarni after several urgent hearings, but it did not.

In September 2018, the Public Prosecution demanded that Sheikh al-Qarni be sentenced to “murder in ta’zir”, a day after a similar request against Sheikh Salman al-Awda and Ali al-‘Umari.

Since September 2017, the Saudi authorities arrested Al-Qarni and other preachers and activists in the Kingdom, most notably preacher Sheikh Salman Al-Awda and academic Sheikh Ali Al-Omari, have been arrested amid demands from local and international figures and organizations for their release.

The arrests were renewed recently when the Saudi authorities arrested six new people, including an academic, a tribal sheikh and prominent poets, this week over criticism of the entertainment authority.

The Saud authorities do not disclose the number of people detained on the basis of freedom of opinion in their prisons, and do not allow human rights institutions to visit them or see their conditions, which raises doubts about this.

The “Detainees of Conscience” account, which is interested in political prisoners in Saudi prisons, said in a tweet on Thursday, “It was confirmed to us that the Specialized Criminal Court postponed the trial of Sheikh Awad al-Qarni, which was scheduled yesterday (November 20), because of the continuing Sheikh has been in Al Hayer Hospital for about 20 days.”

According to a previous tweet by “Detainees of Conscience”, “the number of people who have been identified as prisoners of conscience since September 2017 has risen to more than 110 figures, in addition to about 50 Palestinian residents and a number of residents of other nationalities.”

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