Archive | Human Rights

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Saudi Shi’ite Activist Arrested

Posted on 03 May 2011 by hashimilion

Saudi Arabia has detained a Shi’ite activist in the oil-producing eastern province for taking part in demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

It said Fadhil al-Manasif was arrested on May 1 in Awwamiyya, where minority Shi’ite Muslims staged small protests in March to complain of discrimination — a charge the government denies — and the detention those critical of the government.

“The latest arrests of peaceful dissidents brings the climate for reform in Saudi Arabia to freezing point,” Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“The Saudi ruling family has shown no signs that it might ease its iron grip on the right to express political opinions.”

The Sunni Muslim monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and major U.S. ally, does not tolerate any form of dissent.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said: “Joining or calling for demonstrations is banned and those in violation of the ban are dealt with in accordance to Saudi Arabia’s regulations.”

The Gulf Arab country has not seen the kind of mass uprisings other countries in the region have over the past few months, and a planned day of protest on March 11 failed to draw any significant numbers to the streets in Riyadh amid a heavy security presence.

Al-Manasif had documented, in writing and pictures, the demonstrations in the eastern province calling for more human rights and demanding the release of jailed relatives who protesters say have been held for years without a trial.

An earlier report by the rights group said Saudi authorities had arrested more than 160 activists between February and April and activists say that arrests continue to be made.

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Saudi Authorities Arrest the Political Activist Kamil al-Ahmad

Posted on 28 April 2011 by hashimilion

Kamil al-Ahmad

 

The Saudi Authorities arrested the political activist Kamil Abbas al-Ahmad and his nephew Abdullah al-Ahmad in the city of Safwa. This is the second time that both were detained since protests erupted two months ago in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Based on family sources, their exact locations are unknown.

Kamil al-Ahmad was arrested at the start of April and sent to Dammam where he was interrogated before being released the next day.

It is worth noting that Kamil al-Ahamd has spent more than 11 years in Saudi jails since 1996.

Saudi Authorities have recently cracked down on shiite protestors and arrested 25 people in the Qatif area for organising demonstrations.

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Saudi Arabia Detains Bloggers Over Protests

Posted on 28 April 2011 by hashimilion

Hussein al-Hashem and Mustafa al-Mubarak

 

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have detained two Shi’ite bloggers this week for taking part in demonstrations in the country’s oil-producing Eastern Province, a Shi’ite website and activists said on Wednesday.

The Sunni Muslim monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and major U.S. ally, does not tolerate any form of dissent. It has not seen the kind of mass uprisings other countries in the region have over the past few months.

But minority Shi’ite Muslims in the Eastern Province, who have long complained of discrimination — a charge the government denies — have staged small demonstrations, which have led to some protesters being detained.

Shi’ite website, www.rasid.com, said on Wednesday police had stormed the houses of Mustafa al-Mubarak, 26, and Hussein al-Hashem, 25, arrested them and confiscated their computers,

The website also said a 58-year-old man named Samir Aldahim was also detained for taking part in the demonstrations.

A spokesperson for the Eastern Province police could not be reached for comment.

“The series of arrests are still continuing today,” said one activist who declined to be named for fear of being detained.

“Even ordinary people have been detained for taking part in demonstrations. They are summoned while at work or taken from their homes,” he said.

A Human Rights Watch report issued this month said Saudi Arabia had arrested over 160 activists since February.

“In this last week there were no less then 10 detentions, and they were all transferred to jail. Their families believe it is because they have participated in demonstrations,” the activist said.

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Saudi Arrests Over 160 Dissidents

Posted on 20 April 2011 by hashimilion

Nadhir al-Majid

“Saudi authorities have arrested over 160 peaceful dissidents in violation of international human rights law since February 2011,” HRW said in a statement.

It called on “the interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, to order the immediate release of peaceful dissidents, including Nadhir al-Majid, a writer and teacher arrested on April 17.”

Most of the arrests were in Eastern Province, where the Shiite minority has been holding protests calling for political reforms and the release of prisoners.

HRW slammed Saudi Arabia’s western allies, especially the European Union and the United States, for not taking a harder line over the conservative Gulf kingdom’s arrest of dissidents.

“As the list of Saudi political prisoners grows longer, the silence of the US and the EU becomes more deafening,” Christoph Wilcke, a senior Middle East researcher at HRW, said in the statement.

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Saudis May Free 300 Indonesian Prisoners

Posted on 18 April 2011 by hashimilion

Saudi Arabia has pledged to release more than 300 Indonesians jailed in the country for various offenses, Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said on Sunday.

The minister, speaking by video conference from Riyadh, said his counterpart, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, had agreed to the unconditional release of the prisoners following talks during his state visit.

“The Saudi government will release 316 Indonesians who are serving time in prison,” he said. “But that doesn’t include Indonesians who [were given] the death sentence.”

The minister did not give a time frame for the release, but said the Saudi government would shoulder repatriation costs.

Patrialis was in the Arab state to seek clemency for 23 Indonesians on death row, as well as commuted sentences for 316 others serving between three and 12 years in Saudi prisons. Most of the 339 inmates went to the country as migrant workers.

Patrialis said the Saudi government had promised to consider releasing some of the inmates on death row, particularly ta’zir — those who had been formally absolved by the victims’ family .

Under the Saudi legal system, ta’zir may even escape the death penalty by paying damages demanded by injured parties.

However, qishas — convicts on death row who remain unpardoned by victims’ families — may still be executed.

“The Saudi government said they would consider [the option of] releasing the ta’zir inmates,” Patrialis said. “We’ll keep trying to get the death sentences for Indonesians here commuted.”

The announcement came after negotiations among Indonesian delegates and top Saudi officials, including Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed bin Mohammad al-Salem and Zaid bin Abdul Muhsin al Husain, deputy chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission.

In Jakarta, Wahiduddin Adams, director general for law enforcement at the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, welcomed the news. “We hope Indonesians mired in legal issues in Taiwan and Malaysia can also be released,” he said.

He said the ministry would launch a program to teach migrant workers their legal rights and obligations abroad.

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Pakistanis Urge Saudi Arabia To Release Murder Suspects

Posted on 15 April 2011 by hashimilion

Legislators in northwestern Pakistan have demanded Saudi Arabia release three Pakistani citizens who have been kept in Saudi jails for 13 years, RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal reports.

The issue of jailed Pakistanis was raised in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial assembly on April 13 after several of the relatives of those jailed in Saudi Arabia held a demonstration in Peshawar on April 11.

Relatives of the jailed Pakistanis said they were arrested on murder charges but, although not convicted, have still paid “blood money” to the victims’ relatives in an effort to be released. They said that under Saudi law they are supposed to be freed after paying the relatives.

Addressing an assembly session, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the Pakistanis “were arrested on charges of [murder]…but the Saudi authorities have failed to prove the charges. [The investigators] extracted their fingernails and hair, and kept them in solitary confinement, but could not prove the charges [against them].”

Hussain told RFE/RL that the harsh investigation practices used by the Saudis are a gross violation of human rights and he demanded the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia ensure justice to the three Pakistanis.

Hussain said in parliament that “we request the Pakistani government discuss the issue with the Saudis. And we request that the Saudi authorities — in the name of humanity — release the three men on the basis of Islamic laws and human rights.”

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Saudi Woman Cleared of Indonesia Maid Abuse

Posted on 04 April 2011 by hashimilion

A court has acquitted a Saudi who had been jailed for three years after being found guilty of torturing her Indonesian maid, a local newspaper said on Sunday.

“A court in Medina acquitted on Saturday a Saudi woman who was sentenced in January to three years in prison for severely torturing her Indonesian housemaid,” reported Arab News.

In January, Indonesia said it was appealing against the three-year jail term given to the woman for stabbing, beating and burning her maid, and slammed the sentence as being “too light.”

But on Saturday, the judge “said there was no evidence that the 53-year-old woman tortured her maid, Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, 23, while her lawyer said he would seek damages for his client,” said the English-language daily.

During a hearing in January, Mustapa showed the judge her injuries, an Indonesian consular official in Jeddah Diddi Wahyudi told AFP.

“The court suspected the truth of the accusations made by the maid because she refused to take her oath in court,” the Saudi woman’s lawyer, Ahmad Al-Rashid, told Arab News.

Mustapa’s lawyer said he would appeal the verdict as “there was convincing evidence to prove that the maid is telling the truth,” reported the Saudi daily.

The case outraged rights groups and labour activists as another example of the paucity of protection for millions of mostly Asian domestic workers, especially in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia’s labour ministry said it was sorry about the case, which it called an isolated incident.

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Indonesian Maid Beaten to Death in Saudi Arabia

Posted on 04 April 2011 by hashimilion

In the latest such case, two Saudi Arabian women have been arrested for the death of an Indonesian migrant worker, Indonesian consular official Didi Wahyudi said.

In a text message to the Jakarta Globe, Didi said the victim, Darwasih Udin, 37, was taken to King Faisal Hospital in Mecca on Tuesday.

An autopsy showed that Darwasih suffered severe injuries to her head, as well as to other parts of her body, he said.

Didi said two of the victim’s employers, both women, were being held on suspicion of causing the death.

In an unrelated case, another Indonesian women was found hanged in the bathroom of her employer’s home in Madina, the Saudi Gazette reported.

Police are not treating the death as suspicious, the paper said.

A spokesman for Median Police said an investigation would focus on establishing the “motives that led the woman to put an end to her life.”

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