Saudi Arabia: Quash sentences for Egyptian Nubians who organized peaceful remembrance event

Responding to the news that Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) has sentenced 10 Egyptian Nubian men to between 10 and 18 years in prison for organizing a peaceful remembrance event, Diana Semaan, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“Sentencing these men to over a decade in prison simply for organizing a peaceful community event makes a mockery of justice. They should never have been arrested in the first place, let alone prosecuted by the notorious Specialized Criminal Court. Their sentences must be quashed, and they must be immediately and unconditionally released. They had already spent almost 16 months detained without charge and faced a multitude of gross violations in unfair trials simply for exercising their human rights.

Sentencing these men to over a decade in prison simply for organizing a peaceful community event makes a mockery of justice.

Diana Semaan, Amnesty International

“The Saudi authorities must also ensure they have full access to medical care pending their release, especially the older men who are suffering from serious health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“Saudi Arabia continues to stifle the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly while presenting a facade of progressive reforms. The authorities must urgently protect the rights of all people in the country to freely express themselves individually and collectively, including of ethnic minorities.”


The 10 men were initially arrested on 25 October 2019 shortly before attending their own remembrance event focusing on the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

On 25 December 2019, the men were released without charge yet handed travel bans pending the case’s resumption. They were then re-arrested in July 2020 and detained incommunicado with no access to their lawyers or relatives for the first two months of their detention.

The 10 detained Egyptian Nubian men are Adel Ibrahim Faqir, Dr. Farjallah Ahmed Youssef, Jamal Abdullah Masri, Mohamed Fathallah Gomaa, Sayyed Hashem Shater, Ali Gomaa Ali Bahr, Saleh Gomaa Ahmed, Abdulsalam Gomaa Ali Bahr, Abdullah Gomaa Ali and Wael Ahmed Hassan Ishaq. The men are all members of informal Nubian community associations.

On 10 November 2021, at their first hearing before the SCC, they were allowed to meet their lawyer for the first time in almost 16 months.

On 10 October 2022, they were sentenced under Saudi’s Counter-Terrorism Law on charges of establishing an association without a license, posting on social media, and showing solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist organization which is outlawed in Saudi Arabia. According to one of the men’s relatives, their families were prevented from attending the sentencing hearing.