About four years ago the worst crackdown was launched in Saudi Arabia against political opponents, thinkers, human rights defenders, and members of reform and societal awakening movements.
In September 2017 democracy in Saudi Arabia was crushed, after a general trend rejecting any popular reform or demands for democracy, enhancing its principles, and respecting human rights values. On the contrary, all these calls were rejected on all platforms including social media or a television channel like “For Shabab” channel, which was run by Dr. Ali Al-Omari – one of the most prominent reformists in Saudi Arabia.
On September 9, 2017, Dr. Ali Al-Omari was arrested in a humiliating manner. Al-Omari was accused of joining and forming a terrorist cell and seeking to destabilize the Kingdom, despite his honorable and history in societal reform and urging youth to work for the progress and prosperity of the kingdom.
In addition to the arbitrary detention of Dr. Al-Omari, he faced a series of brutal violations as he was held in solitary confinement and had no communication with his family for 15 months before he is transferred to the mass cells where the conditions of detention are no less than the conditions of solitary confinement.
During the first period of his detention, Al-Omari was subjected to severe physical torture at the hands of Saudi security personnel and jailers by beatings, electric shocks, burning cigarettes on his body, and other brutal forms of torture, which caused severe burns, infections, and injuries all over his body.
After about a year, the authorities began his trial, in which he was denied the right to appoint a lawyer for his secret trial, where no one was allowed to know the updates or to see his file.
It is worth noting that the Public Prosecution demanded the Specialized Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia to apply the penalty of “death penalty” against Al-Omari, after more than thirty charges were brought against him, including forming a “youth organization to achieve the goals of a secret terrorist organization inside the Kingdom”, although all his activities and events that he supervised were not secret and had all necessary licenses.
“Together for Justice” team renews its call on the various international systems, civil society institutions, and human rights defenders to stand against the violations of the Saudi regime and take more practical measures to rescue political detainees and work to release all prisoners of conscience, including Dr. Ali Al-Omari, and to ensure that they obtain all their rights and open urgent investigations into the violations they are being subjected to.
We affirm that allowing dictatorial regimes like the Saudi regime to continue performing without accountability will not only negatively affect the Saudis, but will extend abroad to include everyone. What happened in Yemen is a good example of this, therefore decisive measures must be taken to deter the Saudi regime and put an end to its violations and crimes against human rights.