The family of the Saudi detainee, Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, expressed their concern over losing communication with him once again, after the authorities denied them the right to communicate with him. With his news completely cut, the family fears that he could be facing serious violations at the hands of the prison authorities.
In a recent tweet, Areej Al-Sadhan, the sister of Abdul Rahman who resides in the United States, expressed the family’s concerns about the fate of her brother, who has been forcibly disappeared more than five times since his arrest in 2018.
The Saudi-American aid worker, Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, was arrested on March 12, 2018, from his workplace in one of the offices of the Red Crescent in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, but the authorities continued to deny his presence there for a month, after which it confirmed his arrest, but did not enable his family to visit him or communicate with him, while still refusing to disclose any information about the reasons and place of his detention.
For three years, Abdul Rahman was not brought before any court, in violation of the Saudi Penal Code, and detained without formal charges, before being sentenced last April 2021.
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 make a phone call that lasted a minute at most, reassuring them that he was still alive and in custody inside Al-Ha’ir prison. The second call came after three years of detention.
Furthermore, Abdul Rahman was denied family visits and the appointment of a lawyer to represent him legally before the judiciary, where he only found out the charges raised against him during the reading of the verdict. After more than three years of illegal detention, a Saudi court issued a 20-year prison sentence against him, and a 20-year travel ban after his release. In October 2021, the ruling was upheld by an appeals court.
According to informed sources, the arrest of Al-Sadhan came after hacking his Twitter account, as he was running a satirical account under a fake identity, criticising the ruling policies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Like other prisoners of conscience, Al-Sadhan was subjected to a number of human rights and legal violations. In addition to illegal detention and enforced disappearance, he suffered from ill-treatment, torture, forced confession, medical neglect, and other cruel treatment criminalised by international laws.
We at “Together for Justice” demand the immediate release of Al-Sadhan and ensuring that he obtains all his rights, and 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 improve the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.