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Saudi Arabia: Fear of torture / possible prisoners of conscience

, N° d'index: MDE 23/008/1996

Abdullah Abbas al-Ahmad, aged 40, employee of Aramco, Kamil Abbas al-Ahmad, aged 25, universitiy student, Muhammad Ibrahim al-Ibrahim, aged 40, employee of Aramco, Nasser 'Ali Rahim, 39, employee of Aramco, Ali Hassan al-Dawood, 32, employee of Aramco: The above are among dozens of people who have reportedly been arrested and held in incommunicado detention without charge following the bombing of the King Abdul Aziz air base in al-Khobar on 25 June 1996 in which 19 US nationals were killed. The exact reasons for the arrests are not known but those targeted for arrest are said to be suspected political or religious opponents of the government. AI fears that the detainees, some or all of whom may be prisoners of conscience, are at risk of torture.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 23/08/96
EXTRA 111/96 Fear of torture / Possible prisoners of conscience19 July 1996
SAUDI ARABIAAbdullah Abbas al-Ahmad, aged 40, employee of Aramco
Kamil Abbas al-Ahmad, aged 25, university student
Muhammad Ibrahim al-Ibrahim, aged 40, employee of Aramco
Nasser 'Ali Rahim, 39, employee of Aramco
Ali Hassan al-Dawood, 32, employee of Aramco
and others
The five men named above are among dozens of people who have reportedly been
arrested during the first half of July 1996 and have since been held in
incommunicado detention without charge. Amnesty International fears that the
detainees, some or all of whom may be prisoners of conscience, are at risk
of torture.
The exact reasons for the arrests are not known to Amnesty International, but
they are believed to be part of a wave of detentions carried out by the General
Intelligence in al-Qatif, Sayhat, Turaif, al-Jarudy and al-Awamiya following
the bombing of the King Abdul Aziz air base in al-Khobar on 25 June 1996 in
which 19 US nationals were killed. Those targeted for arrest are said to be
mainly suspected political or religious opponents of the government from the
Shi'a community and Sunni Muslims, followers of the Wahabi doctrine. They
include religious scholars, students, and employees of Aramco, the Saudi Arabian
national oil company.
The arrests were carried out without warrant, and the detainees' relatives
were not informed of the reasons for their arrest. For example, Abdullah Abbas
al-Ahmad was reportedly arrested at 6am on 9 July, as he was leaving his house
to go to work, and was taken into detention after his house was searched.
He is currently believed to be detained in the General Intelligence building
in Damman. The other detainees are also believed to be held there.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Political and religious suspects in Saudi Arabia are, as a rule, subjected
to arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, and long-term detention without
charge or trial. They are frequently tortured in order to extract information
from them about political opposition activity. Hundreds of political suspects
are currently held, most of them without charge or trial, some for about two
years. Political trials are rare in Saudi Arabia, but when they do take place
they invariably fall far short of international standards for fair trial. In
some cases, defendants have been sentenced to death and executed after such
trials (for example, see EXTRA 80/96 (MDE 23/04/96, 28 May 1996 and updates).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, Arabic or your own language:
- seeking clarification of the reasons for the detention of the above
individuals, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release unless
they are to be promptly charged with recognizably criminal offences and given
fair trials in accordance with international standards;
- seeking assurances that all detainees will be treated humanely, and urging
that they be given immediate access to family, lawyers and medical care if
necessary.
APPEALS TO:
2
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
Minister of Interior
His Royal Highness
Prince Naif bin 'Abdul-'Aziz
Ministry of the Interior
PO Box 2833
Airport Road, Riyadh 11134
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Minister of the Interior, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telexes: 404416
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Royal Highness
Prince Saud al-Faisal bin 'Abdul 'Aziz
Nasseriya Street, Riyadh 11124
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telexes: 405000
Salutation: Your Royal Highness
Minister of Justice
His Excellency
Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh
Ministry of Justice
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telegrams: Minister of Justice, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telexes: 405 980 MINJUS SJ
Salutation: Your Excellency
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 20 August 1996.

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