Document - Saudi "Day Of Rage" Protester To Go On Trial: Khaled al-Johani
UA: 59/12 Index: MDE 23/004/2012 Saudi Arabia Date: 21 February 2012 URGENT ACTION SAUDI "DAY OF RAGE" PROTESTER TO GO ON TRIAL The only man to demonstrate on the “Day of Rage” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 11 March 2011, is scheduled to stand trial on 22 February. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Khaled al-Johani, a 40-year-old teacher, was arrested by security forces in Riyadh on 11 March 2011 and taken into detention minutes after he did an interview with BBC Arabic, during which he spoke about the lack of freedoms in Saudi Arabia. He was apparently the sole protester who reached the location of the planned demonstration due to the heavy security presence on the day. Khaled al-Johani was subsequently charged, reportedly with going to the location of a planned demonstration and communicating with foreign media “in a manner that harmed the reputation of the kingdom”. He has not been allowed to appoint a lawyer of his choice and has not received a copy of the list of charges against him. After nearly a year in detention, he is set to stand to trial on 22 February 2012 before the Specialized Criminal Court, which was established in 2008 to try detainees held on terrorism-related charges. He is believed to have been held at first in ‘Ulaysha prison and to have spent two months there in solitary confinement. He was then transferred to al-Ha’ir prison where he was allowed access to his family. This month, apparently after a row with fellow inmates, Khaled was reportedly placed in solitary confinement again and, on one occasion, confined to an outside space on a cold day without food or warm clothing. It is reported that he has also been verbally abused and threatened by prison guards and that his psychological state has deteriorated. Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language: Calling on the authorities to release Khaled al-Johani immediately and unconditionally as he is being held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and assembly; Urging the authorities, in the meantime, to ensure that Khaled al-Johani is protected from torture and other ill- treatment, and given regular access to family, a lawyer of his choice and any medical attention he may require; Expressing concern about reports that he was subjected to torture or other ill-treatment and calling on the authorities to open a full, independent and impartial investigation into them. PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 APRIL 2012 TO: King of Saudi Arabia His Majesty 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: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 1 403 3125 (please keep trying) Salutation: Your Majesty Second Deputy Prime Minister 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 (please keep trying) Salutation: Your Royal Highness And copies to: Minister of Justice His Excellency Shaykh Dr Mohammed Bin Abdul kareem Al- Issa Ministry of Justice University Street Riyadh 11137 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fax: + 966 1 401 1741 Salutation: Your Excellency Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
URGENT ACTION SAUDI "DAY OF RAGE" PROTESTER TO GO ON TRIAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The Saudi Arabian authorities have generally not tolerated protests taking place. Those who try to organize or participate in them are often arrested, held incommunicado without charge and denied access to the courts to challenge the legality of their detention. After a protest against the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip launched on 27 December 2008, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior was reported as making an explicit announcement on 30 December 2008 that protests were banned in Saudi Arabia. Following the protests at the beginning of March 2011 in al-Qatif (see UA 61/11, 7 March 2011, MDE23/005/2011) and amid reports that further protests calling for reform in Saudi Arabia were planned, the Ministry of Interior issued a statement on 5 March 2011 confirming the ban on demonstrations. According to the statement, security forces would take “all necessary measures” against those who attempt to disrupt order. The following day, the Council of Senior Ulema (religious scholars) also emphasized the prohibition of demonstrations in the country. They forbade and warned against using demonstrations or other means that, according to them, stir discord and division in society, and stated that these were not the appropriate means for calling for reform or giving advice. On the same day, the consultative Shura Council (appointed by the King) stressed the importance of preserving the security of the Kingdom and ignoring misleading calls for the organization of demonstrations, sit-ins and marches, which, they argued, were incompatible with the principles of Islamic law. Critics of the Saudi Arabian government face gross human rights violations at the hands of security forces under the control of the Ministry of Interior. They are often held incommunicado without charge, sometimes in solitary confinement, prevented from consulting lawyers and denied access to the courts to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. Torture or other ill-treatment is frequently used to extract confessions from detainees, to punish them for refusing to “repent”, or to force them to make undertakings not to criticize the government. Incommunicado detention in Saudi Arabia often lasts until a confession is obtained, which can take months and occasionally years. Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which prohibits the use of evidence extracted under torture or other ill-treatment. Article 15 states: “Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.” For more information, please see Amnesty International’s reports Saudi Arabia: Repression in the name of security, issued on 1 December 2011 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/016/2011/en), and Saudi Arabia: Countering terrorism with repression, issued on 11 September 2009 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/025/2009/en). Name: Khaled al-Johani Gender m/f: male UA: 59/12 Index: 23/004/2012 Issue Date: 21 February 2012