Prisoners of Conscience

Serious deterioration in journalist health in Saudi prisons

The Geneva Council For Human Rights And Justice has warned of the serious deterioration in the health of a Saudi journalist who has been arbitrarily detained for several years in the Kingdom’s prisons amid neglect and abuse.

The Geneva Council said in a statement that it had received documented evidence of the deterioration of the health of journalist Natheer al-Majed, who is serving an unfair sentence of seven years imprisonment and being prevented from traveling abroad for seven years for expressing his opinion.

Al-Majed was sentenced in January 2017 after being charged with “disturbing the security of the country.” Al-Majid is a journalist in several Saudi and Arab newspapers.

Al-Majid was first arrested by the Saudi authorities in 2011 on the basis of an article entitled “I protest, then I am human” in which he supports the right to peaceful protest in the Kingdom and calls for public freedoms.

According to the Geneva Council For Human Rights And Justice, Al-Majid suffers from continuous and isolated health deterioration in a solitary cell where he is subjected to constant psychological and physical torture, as are hundreds of prisoners of conscience in Saudi prisons.

The international human rights council called for urgent international action to secure Al-Majid’s release, stop his arbitrary detention and press the Saudi authorities to stop their gross violations of public freedoms and target opponents of their policies and those demanding reform in the Kingdom.

The council warned that the Saudi authorities impose slow death of prisoners of conscience in their prisons in an effort to silence those who do not abide by the official line or dare to give an independent opinion in politics, religion or human rights.

The council stressed that the issue of prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, including repression, deliberate medical negligence, harassment, intimidation, defamation campaigns and travel bans, should bring action by the United Nations and the international community to stop the Saudi violations.

Natheer al-Majid is a Saudi Shiite writer from the Qatif governorate in the Kingdom who belongs to the liberal current. He practiced writing about Shiite and Salafi religious affairs and criticized the sectarian escalation between the two sides.

He practices writing in famous websites and is his only outlet for writing. Some of his articles received a storm of grumbling among Shiite religious circles, especially when he described Sistani’s practice as priestly.

Natheer al-Majid writes in many sites including: Rassed News Network, Al-Hiwar Al-Moatamadin, Aram, Droob and other cultural and intellectual sites.

In 2008, Al-Majid was one of the Shia intellectuals who signed the statement of the 11 Shiite intellectuals in which they called for changing some of the Shiite concepts and criticized doctrines and demanded not to offend the caliphs. The statement was shared by a number of Shiite intellectuals such as: Raed Qassem, Talib al-Mawla, Ahmad al-Kateb, Ahmad al-Mahri, Ali Jaber al-Salama, Mahmoud al-Ali, Jaafar al-Bahrani and others.

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