A year and a few days have passed since the Saudi authorities detained the two Saudi siblings Sarah and Omar Al-Jabri, sons of the former intelligence officer Saad Al-Jabri, in an attempt to pressure him to return to Saudi Arabia and surrender to the Saudi crown prince.
On March 16, 2020, Omar and Sarah were arrested in mysterious circumstances, and no news was heard from them since then. The family exerted massive efforts to find their whereabouts or their detention of condition with no success.
It is worth noting that the arrest of Omar and Sarah coincided with the arrest of Mohamed bin Nayef and other prominent Saudis. The two siblings were summoned for investigation by state security officials.
According to the family’s statements, the last time they spoke with Omar and Sarah was shortly before their arrest, on a video call in which the entire family gathered to celebrate Sarah’s 20th birthday. Following this, their news was completely cut.
Witnesses from the area told the family that dozens of cars and officials arrived at the house in Riyadh earlier on that day and arrested the two.
Although their current whereabouts is unknown, the family knows the main reason behind their arrest is to pressure their father to return, as he is a former intelligence official and has secrets that are important for bin Salman, who confirmed it in many text messages he exchanged with Al-Jabri since the beginning of the targeting of his children.
The persecution of Al-Jabri’s children by the Saudi regime began after the overthrow of Prince Mohamed bin Nayef – the former crown prince.
In less than 24 hours of forcing bin Nayef to step down from the mandate of the Covenant in 2017, an official travel ban decision was issued against two of Al-Jabri’s children, Sarah, who was 17 years old, and Omar, 18 at the time.
The two siblings were stopped at Riyadh airport while traveling to complete their studies in the United States, but the authorities banned Sarah from leaving the country, so Omar refused to travel without her. They remained in the country until their arrest.
The two siblings have become hostages of the regime, as their older brother Khaled, a cardiologist living in exile with his father, stated.
Al-Jabri, the father, tried to inquire about the reason why his two children were denied travel, but Prince Mohamed responded to him in a text message: “When you come back safely, I will explain the problem to you … I still need you to deal with anyone who tries to create chaos and conflict.”
Al-Jabri asked MBS to lift the travel ban imposed on his children, but he refused, and after several months Al-Jabri repeated his request to lift the travel ban on his children, but bin Salman gave the same response “When I see you, I’ll explain the problem to you.”
A few days later, the crown prince asked Al-Jabri to return to Saudi Arabia immediately, and conditioned his return to lifting the travel ban on his children, as he sent him saying, “I want to solve the problem of your son and daughter, but this is a very sensitive file here related to Mohamed bin Nayef. I need your opinion on this matter, as well as information you have about it. I also want to reach an understanding with you about your future position”.
The two siblings Omar and Sarah Al-Jabri are hostages for the Saudi regime, and the practices taken against them constitute a form of collective punishment, which is an approach followed by tyrannical regimes to undermine opponents, by abusing their families and violating all their basic rights in an attempt to break the will of their opposing relatives and silence them.
Together for Justice calls on the international community to urgently intervene to pressure the Saudi regime to reveal the fate of the two siblings Omar and Sarah Al-Jabri and release them immediately. It also stresses that their continued detention affects the kingdom’s image and reputation negatively, and makes those responsible legally liable.