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Saudi Arabia: Human rights activist held incommunicado

, Index number: MDE 23/012/2011

Human rights activist Fadel Makki al-Manasef was arrested on 1 May 2011 in connection with protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province; he has been held incommunicado since 18 May, putting him at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Fadel al-Manasef may be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

UA: 180/11 Index: MDE 23/012/2011 Saudi Arabia Date: 15 June 2011
URGENT ACTION
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST HELD INCOMMUNICADO
Human rights activist Fadel Makki al-Manasef was arrested on 1 May 2011 in connection with
protests in Saudi Arabias Eastern Province; he has been held incommunicado since 18 May,
putting him at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Fadel al-Manasef may be a prisoner of
conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
Fadel al-Manasef was told on 30 April to report to the criminal investigation department at the police station in al-
Awwamiya, a town in the Eastern Province. He went there the next day and was arrested. He was transferred the
same day first to a police station in the city of al-Qatif and then to a police station in the nearby district of al-
Thuqbah, where he was detained for at least three days, before being moved to al-Khobar prison, also in the Eastern
Province. Most recently, on 18 May, he was transferred again, to the General Intelligence Prison in the neighbouring
city of Dammam, the province’s capital.
While he was held in al-Khobar prison, Fadel al-Manasef was given access to his family and lawyer, and was allowed
visits twice a week. However, since his transfer to the General Intelligence Prison in Dammam on 18 May, he has
been held incommunicado, putting him at particular risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
The exact reasons for his arrest and detention are not known, although it is believed to be related to reports that he
encouraged others to take part in protests calling for reform, as well as to human rights activism. According to
sources in Saudi Arabia, Fadel al-Manasef has been vocal in raising human rights concerns about the treatment of
members of the Shia community in Saudi Arabia, including discrimination against them and the detention of
individuals from the community without charge or trial for years. He may be a prisoner of conscience, held solely for
the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English or your own language:
Urging the authorities to ensure that Fadel Makki al-Manasef is protected from torture and other ill-treatment,
and given regular access to his family, lawyers and any medical attention he may require;
Calling on them to release him immediately and unconditionally if he is being held solely for peacefully
exercising his rights to freedom of expression;
Asking them to make public the details of any charges he faces, and ensure that any legal proceedings against
him conform to international fair trial standards.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 JULY 2011 TO:
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
King
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
And copies to:
President, Human Rights Commission
Bandar Mohammed Abdullah al-Aiban
Human Rights Commission
P.O. Box 58889, King Fahad Road,
Building No. 373, Riyadh 11515
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Email: hrc@haq-ksa.org
Salutation: Dear Dr al-Aiban
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
date.
Date: 15 June 2011
URGENT ACTION
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST HELD INCOMMUNICADO
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 wer 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 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 Internationals report Saudi Arabia: Assaulting human rights in the name of counter-
terrorism, issued on 22 July 2009 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/saudi-arabia-human-rights-
abuses-name-fighting-terrorism-20090722), and the update to the report Saudi Arabia: Countering terrorism with repression,
issued on 11 September 2009 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/025/2009/en).
UA: 180/11 Index: MDE 23/012/2011 Issue Date: 15 June 2011

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