The family of the Saudi detainee, Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, announced that contact with him had been cut off again, and the authorities refused to disclose any information about his current condition or the place of his detention.
Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, a Saudi aid worker, was arrested on March 12, 2018, from one of the Red Crescent offices in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The authorities continued to deny his arrest for a month, did not enable his family to visit him and refused to disclose any information about the reasons and place of his detention. He was not brought before the court for three years until he was sentenced last April.
Throughout his detention, and before his sentencing, the authorities allowed Abdul Rahman to communicate with his family only twice, the first was about 23 months after his arrest, when he was allowed to contact them in a phone call that lasted a minute at most, reassuring them that he was still alive and in custody inside al-Ha’ir prison, and the second came after three years of detention.
Abdul Rahman was not allowed family visits nor has he had a lawyer to represent him legally before the judiciary, on charges that were only seen during the reading of the sentence, and after more than three years of illegal detention, a Saudi court issued a 20-year prison sentence, in addition to a travel ban for a period 20 years after his release, in October 2020, an appeals court upheld the verdict.
The arrest of Al-Sadhan came primarily after hacking his Twitter account, as he ran a sarcastic account criticising the ruling policies, but under an unknown identity, but with the Saudi regime able to recruit some Twitter officials. The account was hacked and Al-Sadhan’s identity was reached, to pay the price for daring to express his personal opinion.
Al-Sadhan has been subjected to a number of human rights and legal violations since the first day of his arbitrary arrest, which was followed by enforced disappearance, ill-treatment, brutal torture and forced confession, medical negligence, and other forms of cruel treatment that are criminalised under international laws and rejected by normal human nature.
Al-Sadhan’s arrest comes as a result of the brutal repression policies pursued by the current regime. He is a victim of the Saudi authorities’ spying on Twitter users and penetration of opponents’ accounts.
The ruling caused a wave of widespread criticism and global anger at Saudi Arabia, as the US State Department issued a statement on Tuesday, 06 April, condemning the ruling. Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan is in prison for 20 years, followed by a 20-year travel ban,” adding, “We will continue to monitor this case closely during any appeal process. Freedom of expression, as we have told Saudi officials at all levels, should not be a crime punishable by law. We will continue strengthening the role of human rights in our relations with Saudi Arabia as well as encouraging legal reforms that respect the human rights of all individuals.
While Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, described the verdict against Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan as “brutal,” stressing that his prolonged imprisonment without trial “is a gross and appalling injustice,” stressing that “Riyadh needs to know that the world is watching Saudi Arabia’s disturbing behavior and that we will hold them accountable.” “.
We at “Together for Justice” demand the immediate release of Al-Sadhan and ensure that he obtains all his rights that the regime has not stopped violating since the first day of his arrest.
We call on the United Nations and international human rights organisations to intervene urgently to pressure the Saudi regime to evacuate the fate of Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, and to pressure the Saudi regime to improve human rights conditions in the Kingdom.