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Oct-05-2013 10:12printcomments

Saudi Arabia:Immediately and Unconditionally Drop all Charges Against Waleed Abu Al-Khair

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes expresses his concern regarding the arrest of Waleed Abu Al-Khair, which is a worrying step in the judicial harassment of the human rights defender, along with the travel ban imposed upon him since 2012.

Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes

(Riyadh) - His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Your Majesty,

On 2 October 2013, human rights defender and lawyer Mr Waleed Abu Al-Khair was arrested in Jeddah city and charged with “organising illegal gatherings” in his house. He has since been transferred for further questioning to the interrogation office, which has extended his detention until 6 October 2013.

Waleed Abu Al-Khair is a human rights lawyer and founder of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. He has been involved in cases against the government for jailing activists without charge and for banning women voting in municipal elections.

Prior to his arrest on 2 October 2013, Waleed Abu Al-Khair was involved in multiple ongoing court proceedings. Relating to these separate charges, the Ministry of the Interior confirmed on 28 March 2012 that a ban prohibiting Waleed Abu Al-Khair from travelling outside the country was in place. A spokesperson from the Ministry stated that this measure was put in place for an indefinite period, and that it was based on a court order from the Investigation and Public Prosecution Authority. Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal on this travel ban on 30 March 2012.

In a separate case, Waleed Abu Al-Khair was on trial before the Saudi Special Criminal Court on charges of, among other things, “calling for a constitutional monarchy,” “talking to the media with the intention of harming the reputation of country,” “insulting the judiciary and its staff,” and “communicating with foreign quarters.” This more recent trial began on 4 June 2012 and its tenth hearing was convened on 9 September 2013 at the Criminal Court in Jeddah.

I would like to express my concern regarding the arrest of Waleed Abu Al-Khair, which is a worrying step in the judicial harassment of the human rights defender, along with the travel ban imposed upon him since 2012.

I urge the authorities in Saudi Arabia to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Waleed Abu Al-Khair, and consequently release him without delay, as they are solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Yours sincerely,
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
Twitter @wnicholasgomes

See more at: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/23958#sthash.tU74apMX.dpuf



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