Abdullah Al-Duhailan Behind Bars in Saudi for Describing Israel as a Pariah Entity

Almost three years have passed since the arrest of the journalist Abdullah Al-Duhailan, who is being held in very poor conditions in Saudi prisons. He has not been convicted so far, as he had been imprisoned for criticising the Israeli occupation, rejecting normalization and calling for its boycott.

Al-Duhailan was arrested on April 05, 2019, from his home in Riyadh at the hands of a State Security force, which stormed his house and terrorized his family. The forces did not reveal reasons or charges for his arrest, took him to an unknown location, and prevented him from communicating with his family for months.

Abdullah Al-Duhailan is a Saudi writer, activist and TV presenter. He has written a number of research papers and books, including “The Saudis and the Arab Spring” and “I am the King.” He also presented the “Beirut” program on the political affairs in Lebanon on YouTube. Furthermore, he wrote for a number of Saudi newspapers, most notably “Al-Hayat” newspaper and “Al-Faisal” magazine.

Al-Duhailan’s arrest came a few days after he published an article entitled “Is Israel a Democratic State?” on March 31, 2019, and presented a series of episodes entitled “The Untouchable Entity”, calling for the boycott of Israel and for showing solidarity with the Palestinians, in addition to supporting the Palestinian cause, and raising awareness about rejecting normalisation.

Al-Duhailan was arrested in a campaign of arrests launched by the Saudi authorities in April 2019, where 15 writers and human rights activists of both men and women, including a pregnant woman, have been arrested.

Detaining Al-Duhailan until now without informing him of the charges against him upon his arrest, as well as hiding his place of detention, and preventing his lawyer from meeting with him, violate Articles 35 and 116 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Moreover, preventing his lawyer from being present during investigations is in violation of Articles 4 and 39 of the Law of Criminal Procedure, and not presenting the defendant before the Public Prosecution at the legally specified date, is also in violation of the law.

We call on the international community to intervene immediately to pressure the Saudi authorities to release Abdul Rahman Al-Duhailan and all prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, and to ensure that they obtain all their rights.

We stress the need to respect freedom of opinion and expression of all citizens, especially on issues related to establishing relations with the Israeli entity and supporting the Palestinian cause, as a number of Palestinian and Jordanian citizens living in the Kingdom have been arrested and sentenced for supporting the Palestinian cause.

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