More than 1,000 days have passed since the Saudi citizen, Aida Al-Ghamdi, was arrested and detained in horrific and inhuman conditions, in revenge of her son, the dissident Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, who has critical views of the authorities’ repressive approach against human rights activists and advocates of freedom and democracy.
Exactly three years ago, on March 28, 2018, activist and opposition figure Abdullah Al-Ghamdi announced that Saudi security forces had arrested his 60-year-old mother, Aida, and his two brothers, Sultan and Adel, in retaliation for his opposition activities to the authorities abroad.
His brother Sultan was released in April of the same year and was forced to post a video on social media in which he attacked his brother for his political activities. However, his mother is still detained until today.
Since the first day of their arrest; Aida and her son Adel have been deprived of all their basic rights, and were subjected to cruel and ill-treatment to put pressure on Abdullah to stop his activities. The authorities further deprived Aida of health services, despite her old age, while counting to detain her in solitary confinement for long periods, exposing her to torture and severe beatings in front of her son Adel, who was also beaten and lashed.
The Saudi authorities refused to allow Aida and her son Adel to appoint a lawyer to legally represent them, despite having no official charge filed against them, which confirms that their arrest is a collective punishment for the families of the opponents, to break Abdullah’s will.
The family was not allowed to visit Aida and Adel until after three months of arbitrary detention, during which the local media launched a fierce campaign to discredit them and accused them of plotting to destabilize the security of the country, although they were not brought before any judicial authority or charged with anything. This in turn proves the authorities’ control over media and managing it to serve its goals, improve its image, and defend its crimes.
As for Sultan, since he was released he has been put under house arrest in his home in Dammam and is prohibited from leaving the governorate without prior permission from the authorities, while having a tracking bracelet around his leg, despite having no charges brought against him.
The practices against the family of the Saudi opposition activist Abdullah Al-Ghamdi is a systematic bullying policy the regime uses to suppress dissent, especially given the lack of integrity of the judiciary, which has become a tool used for taking revenge from political opponents.
Together for Justice calls on international human rights organizations and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to urgently intervene for the release of Aida Al-Ghamdi and her son, Adel, to lift the house arrest imposed on Sultan, and to allow all of them to enjoy all their human and legal rights guaranteed by laws, international treaties and covenants.