Prisoners of Conscience

A prisoner of conscience completes 2,000 days of isolation in Saudi prisons

Human rights sources said that the prisoner of conscience, Sheikh Samir Al-Hilal, will complete 2000 days of solitary confinement in the prisons of the Saudi regime in two days.

The sources told Saudi Leaks that Al-Hilal is being held in Al-Hayer Prison in Riyadh, inside the isolation cell.

The Saudi authorities arrested Al-Hilal from his home in the Al-Anoud neighbourhood in Dammam, where the area was cordoned off with dozens of cars equipped with machine guns, backed by police patrols.

At that time, Al-Hilal was taken handcuffed and shackled. All his family members were detained in a small room, and they tampered with the belongings of the house and confiscated some documents, papers, phones and computers.

Al-Hilal was placed in a solitary confinement cell and deprived of his legal right to meet with a lawyer to take over his defence’s duties after he was subjected to enforced disappearance. For months his family did not know where he was being held.

This is a flagrant violation of domestic and international laws, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Visit ban

Since his arrest in December 2015, all members of Al-Hilal’s family are still not allowed to visit him, despite promises they received from the Saudi authorities to see him.

He was also unable to make phone calls except for two short calls, one of which was with his elderly father, which lasted for a minute and a half, seven months after his arrest.

The second call took place about two years after his arrest, and he was able to call his daughter again, in a similar call that did not exceed two minutes.

The Saudi authorities did not announce the reasons for Al-Hilal’s arrest, his trial sessions were not held, and he continued to complete his years of arbitrary detention without legal basis.

This puts the family in a state of heightened anxiety, especially in light of what is reported by the families of other detainees in Saudi prisons about the physical torture, moral abuse and deliberate medical neglect that prisoners face.

Al-Hilal’s father passed away while he was in prison, and he was not allowed to call or offer condolences only. He is also not allowed to talk about the reason for his arrest, his conditions in prison and how he was arrested.

Jurists believe that the restrictions on Al-Hilal are an attempt to kill him morally, knowing that he retired from political work and social activity long before his arrest.

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