• Campaigns

Saudi Arabia: Execution / flogging / legal concern

, Index number: MDE 23/005/1995

'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf, Ibrahim 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf, Dr Muhammad 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf, Dr Muhsin Hussain al-'Awaji, Naser Ibrahim al-Barak, 'Abd al-Rahman 'Ali al-Hudhayf, Salih Mansur al-Barak, Khalid 'Abdallah Salih al-Yahya, Sultan 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Suwaylem, Sultan 'Abd al-Muhsin al-Khamis: 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf was executed on 12 August 1995. It is said he was sentenced to death after being found guilty of an attack on a security officer and of having links with the leaders of the banned Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR). He had originally been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. He had been denied access to lawyers since his arrest. Nine other political prisoners were sentenced to long prison terms. One of them, Ibrahim 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf, has been sentenced to 300 lashes in addition to 18 years' imprisonment. It is believed some of them may have been punished for their political dissent rather than the criminal charge of injuries caused to the security officer and may be prisoners of conscience. There are believed to be about 200 political prisoners still in detention, most detained incommunicado without charge or trial.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 23/05/95
UA 200/95 Execution / Flogging / Legal concern 15 August 1995
SAUDI ARABIA 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf
Ibrahim 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf
Dr Muhammad 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf, university lecturer
Dr Muhsin Hussain al-'Awaji, university lecturer
Naser Ibrahim al-Barak
'Abd al-Rahman 'Ali al-Hudhayf
Salih Mansur al-Barak
Khalid 'Abdallah Salih al-Yahya
Sultan 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Suwaylem
Sultan 'Abd al-Muhsin al-Khamis
One man is officially reported to have been executed and another sentenced
to be flogged after a trial of ten political prisoners held behind closed doors
in Saudi Arabia. The case has further heightened Amnesty International's fears
for up to 200 other political detainees believed to be currently detained without
charge or trial.
A statement by the Ministry of Interior announced that 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman
al-Hudhayf, in his thirties, was executed on 12 August 1995 in Riyadh. It
said that he had been sentenced to death after he was found guilty of attacking
a security officer with acid and of having links with the leaders of the Committee
for the Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR), an organization based in London
and banned in Saudi Arabia.
Amnesty International received reports in June that 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman
al-Hudhayf had been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment on the same charges
by a court in Riyadh. The organization does not know how his prison sentence
was increased to the death penalty as the trial has been, and remains, shrouded
in secrecy. He had had no access to defence lawyers or any legal assistance
since his arrest, possibly in November 1994. He is also said to have been
denied family visits and his body has apparently not been returned to his family.
Nine other political prisoners were sentenced to prison terms ranging from
three to 18 years. Four were convicted of participating in the planning of
the attack on the security officer and of membership of the CDLR. One of them,
Ibrahim 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf, has been sentenced to 300 lashes in addition
to 18 years' imprisonment. The other three, Dr Muhammad 'Abd al-Rahman
al-Hudhayf, Naser Ibrahim al-Barak and Dr Muhsin Hussain al-'Awaji received
15 years' imprisonment each.
Two of the remaining five prisoners, 'Abd al-Rahman 'Ali al-Hudhayf and Salih
Mansur al-Barak, were convicted of providing refuge for 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman
al-Hudhayf and were respectively sentenced to eight and five years'
imprisonment. The other three were convicted on various charges which included
assisting 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf in his aborted attempt to leave
Saudi Arabia secretly and holding meetings for the CDLR and receiving its
leaflets. Two of these, Khalid 'Abdullah Salih al-Yahya and Sultan 'Abd al-'Aziz
Suwaylem, were sentenced to five years' imprisonment each. The other prisoner,
Sultan 'Abd al-Muhsin al-Khamis, received three years' imprisonment.
The Ministry of Interior's statement concluded with the warning that "...such
will be the fate of anyone who breaches any aspect of our religion...or endanger
the security enjoyed by this country...". Amnesty International believes that
the ten men have been punished for their political dissent rather than the
2
criminal charge of injuries caused to the security officer. As such, some
of them may be prisoners of conscience.
The ten are among hundreds of political suspects subjected to arrest and
detention since 1994. Most were held for short periods before being released.
However, about 200, including the above ten, remained in detention. Most
of those currently held are reported to be detained without charge or trial
and without access to any legal assistance to challenge the lawfulness of their
detention.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The execution of 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf brings the total number
of executions in Saudi Arabia recorded by Amnesty International during the
last seven months to 141. Such executions are invariably carried out after
trials in which internationally agreed safeguards for prisoners facing the
death penalty are completely ignored. Defendants are not allowed to be defended
by a lawyer, and confessions, even when obtained under torture, are accepted
by the court as evidence, and may be the sole evidence on which conviction
is obtained. Five Somali nationals convicted under such procedures are
reported to be currently on death row (see UA 96/95, MDE 23/01/95, 20 April
1995).
Amnesty International considers the judicial punishment of flogging to be a
contrary to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states
"no-one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment". An Egyptian worker in Saudi Arabia is recently reported to
have been sentenced to 4,000 lashes (see UA 190/95, MDE 23/04/95, 1 August
1995).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/airmail letters in English
or your own language:
- expressing deep regret at the execution of 'Abdullah 'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf
on 12 August, and seeking clarification as to why his earlier sentence of 20
years' imprisonment was increased to the death sentence;
- calling for the cruel and inhuman punishment of flogging imposed on Ibrahim
'Abd al-Rahman al-Hudhayf to be immediately commuted;
- stating that all ten defendants have been sentenced after a trial which did
not conform to international standards, and calling for them to be retried
in accordance with these standards or released;
- calling for other political suspects who continue to be held without trial,
to be immediately released if they are not to be charged with recognizably
criminal offences and fairly tried in accordance with international standards,
seeking assurances that neither the death penalty nor corporal punishment will
be imposed on any of them.
APPEALS TO:
The Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines
His Majesty
King Fahd bin 'Abdul-'Aziz
Office of H.M. The King
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: King Fahd, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Salutation: Your Majesty
3
His Royal Highness
Prince Naif bin 'Abdul-'Aziz
Minister of the Interior
PO Box 2833, Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Minister of the Interior, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telexes: 404416
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Saudi Arabia accredited to your
country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 3 October 1995.

Choose a language to view report