In a new opinion piece in the Washington Post, the American citizen of Saudi origin, Areej Al-Sadhan, revealed the suffering of her family after learning the conviction against her brother Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, who has been detained for more than three years in Saudi prisons for his views. She appealed to the US administration to intervene to save her brother.
“My family is exhausted.” This is how Areej described the family’s condition after more than three years of suffering during the disappearance of her brother in Saudi prisons until his unjust conviction to life imprisonment on April 05, 2021, the day the family described as “the day of our worst nightmares. “
Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, a Saudi charity worker and human rights defender, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame de Namur in California, where his family resides.
Al-Sadhan decided to leave for his home country to help the needy there and worked for the Red Crescent, but his loyalty to his homeland and his eagerness to make citizens live a decent life were behind his arrest on March 12, 2018, from his office “as part of an intense arrest campaign carried out by Saudi officials against peaceful activists, government critics, and internet users.”
He was arrested after former Twitter personnel who were believed to work for the Saudi government leaked his identity according to his sister who added that he was using a fake account to criticize the repression of the government.
Suppression of freedom of opinion and expression, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance for years with severe torture, and a life sentence of twenty years, and twenty others travel ban after his release.
This is the ordeal of Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, which affected his family as well as his sister said, “The psychological torture my family suffered was exacerbated by the feeling of insecurity for all of us everywhere. I faced harassment and intimidation by Internet phishers with links to the Saudi government while trying to find out more about my brother’s conditions.
After attending a human rights conference at in Oslo in 2019, a man chased me on my way to the airport in the early morning. The Norwegian authorities believe that he was connected to the Saudi embassy there. “
The injustice suffered by Abdul Rahman and his family is a small version of the larger picture of Saudi tyranny and the suppression under Mohamed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom, who uses his powers to crush dissent, and instead of addressing problems of the society such as poverty, unemployment, and the economy, he fights those who address these issues peacefully.
“Sentencing my brother is a clear message to the Saudi public that those who exercise their right to freedom of expression will face severe punishment, and as long as Mohammed bin Salman escapes punishment, he will continue to violate all human rights without any kind of deterrence”.
Next Thursday, the appeal against the sentence is scheduled to take place as Areej appealed to “our elected representatives and the Biden administration to work on releasing Abdul Rahman and ensuring his returns to our family in California,” stressing that she fears that this might be the last chance for the family to see Abdul Rahman.
Together for Justice supports Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan’s family and calls on those concerned with human rights around the world to secure the unconditional release of Abdul Rahman and all prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia.