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Saudi Arabia: Saudi professor detained incommunicado: Dr Mohammed ‘Abdullah al-‘Abdulkareem

, Index number: MDE 23/015/2010

A law professor has been detained incommunicado since 5 December in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, putting him at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International is concerned that he may be held solely for the peaceful expression of his right to freedom of expression and therefore be a prisoner of conscience.

UA: 249/10 Index: MDE 23/015/2010 Saudi Arabia Date: 08 December 2010
URGENT ACTION
SAUDI PROFESSOR DETAINED INCOMMUNICADO
A law professor has been detained incommunicado since 5 December in Riyadh, the capital of
Saudi Arabia, putting him at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International is
concerned that he may be held solely for the peaceful expression of his right to freedom of
expression and therefore be a prisoner of conscience.
Dr Mohammed Abdullah al-Abdulkareem, a 40-year-old law professor who is married with three children, was
arrested on 5 December in the afternoon, at his home, by four men in civilian clothes believed to be members of the
Interior Ministry’s General Intelligence (al-Mabahith al-‘Amma) as well as several police officers in uniform. A few
minutes after his arrest he was reported by activists in Saudi Arabia to have called his wife and told that he was
being taken to the General Intelligence prison but would return at night. He did not return and has since been held
incommunicado. Activists in Saudi Arabia believe that he is being held in al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh. It is not known
why he has been arrested but it is believed to be related to an article he wrote and posted on his Facebook page on
23 November.
The article, written in Arabic, is entitled “The crisis of political conflict among the ruling factions in Saudi Arabia.
It asks the question “Is the continuation of the Kingdom as united in one entity conditional on the existence of the
[ruling] family?” and answers it by reviewing the uncertainty around succession in the royal family and other
institutional processes affecting the future of Saudi Arabia. The article does not make reference to or advocate
violence in any way.
Dr al-Abdulkareem is a professor in the Faculty of Islamic Jurisprudence in the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic
University in Riyadh and editor-in-chief of a journal on Islamic issues entitled Congress of the Nation. On 29
November, the administration of his university summoned him to a meeting and asked him if he had written the
article; he refused to reply.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English or your own language:
Urging the authorities to ensure that Dr Mohammed Abdullah al-Abdulkareem is protected from torture and
other ill-treatment, and is allowed prompt and regular access to a lawyer of his choosing and his family;
Noting that if he is held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and freedom of
assembly, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and
unconditional release;
Asking for details of any charges he faces to be made public and calling on the authorities to ensure that any
legal proceedings against him conform to international fair trial standards.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 JANUARY 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 1185 (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 1185 (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
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
date.
Date: 08 December 2010
URGENT ACTION
PROFESSOR DETAINED INCOMMUNICADO
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Critics of the Saudi Arabian government face gross human rights violations at the hands of branches of the security forces under
the control of the Ministry of Interior. They are often held incommunicado without charge, denied access to lawyers and the
courts to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, and tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Legal proceedings fall far short of
international standards for fair trial: defendants are generally denied legal counsel, and in many cases they and their families are
not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. Court hearings are often held behind closed doors.
Incommunicado detention and solitary confinement are routine practices in Saudi Arabia. Both are used, along with torture and
other ill-treatment, 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.
UA: 249/10 Index: MDE 23/015/2010 Issue Date: 08 December 2010

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