EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 23/04/94
UA 333/94 Fear of torture ill-treatment 9 September 1994
SAUDI ARABIA Dr 'Abdullah al-Hamed
Dr Muhsin al-'Awaji
Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the safety of Dr 'Abdullah
al-Hamed and Dr Muhsin al-'Awaji who were both arrested by al-Mabahith al-'Amma
(General Intelligence) on 8 September 1994 and taken to an unknown location.
It is feared that they may be subjected to ill-treatment or torture while
being held in incommunicado detention.
Dr 'Abdullah al-Hamed, a writer and a lecturer at Imam Muhammad bin Saud
University in Riyadh, was one of the six founding members of Lajnat al-Difa'
'an al-Huquq al-Shar'iyya (Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights-CDLR)
in Saudi Arabia. In 1993 both Dr 'Abdullah al-Hamed and Dr Muhsin al-'Awaji
were arrested and detained; during that time Dr al-Hamed was tortured and
deprived of sleep for long periods. Both men were released after agreeing
to sign a statement agreeing to forgo any political activities seen to be hostile
to the Kingdom. After his release Dr al-Hamed wrote a long poem describing
the period he spent in prison. Amnesty International believes that Dr 'Abdullah
al-Hamed and Dr Muhsin al-'Awaji are prisoners of conscience arrested solely
for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs.
The CDLR was founded in Riyadh on 3 May by six prominent Saudi Arabian religious
scholars and professionals, among them Dr 'Abdullah al-Hamed. In a statement
the group announced its aims to be the "alleviation of injustice....and the
defence of legitimate rights decided by the Sharia (Islamic law)" On 11 May
the Council of Senior 'Ulama (religious scholars), the highest religious
authority in Saudi Arabia, issued a statement expressing surprise at the
establishment of such an organization, stating that Saudi Arabia had no need
for human rights organizations since it was ruled in accordance with the Shari'a.
The activities of the banned group were suspended for a few months before
the CDLR relaunched its activities from London in April 1994.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English, Arabic or your own language:
- seeking assurances that both Dr 'Abdullah al-Hamed and Dr Muhsin al-'Awaji
are being treated humanely and urging that they be allowed access to family
members, defence counsel and doctors;
- urging that Dr 'Abdullah al-Hamed and Dr Muhsin al-'Awaji be immediately
and unconditionally released.
His Royal Highness
Prince Naif bin 'Abdul-'Aziz
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 2833
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia