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Arbitrary and Unfair Court Verdict against Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali

The Saudi judiciary sentenced the sons of Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali to four years imprisonment in a secret trial, while the legal status of their father remains unknown, despite all calls for unconditional medical release for them due to their deteriorating health conditions as well as their arbitrary and baseless detention.

The authorities did not officially announce the charges rose against them; however, their arrest came after Sheikh Safar published a book entitled “Muslims and the Western Civilization” in which he denounced the millions spent by KSA on the reception of the US President Donald Trump in his first visit to Riyadh, in addition to the gifts.

The first session scheduled on July 20, 2021, was postponed for a week due to the absence of the judge, followed by the second –in less than a week- due to the absence of the defendants, which confirms the authorities’ indifference to the rights of detainees and they are using the law to serve the personal whims of officials.

The Sheikh and his sons had all been arrested on the day of July 2018, where Abdullah and Abdul Rahman were illegally arrested from a wedding party for one of their relatives in the Al-Baha area, and hours later their father, Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, was arrested from his home in the village of Al-Hawala – southwest of Saudi Arabia – along with his son Ibrahim, after searching the house, intimidating its residents and confiscating their mobile phones and computers without presenting any judicial permission.

The family was taken to an unknown location and they remained under enforced disappearance for more than three months.

Abdullah Al-Hawali suffers from a special health condition as he has only one kidney functioning currently – after he donated his kidney to his father several months before his arrest, therefore, he needs special food and to stay in a clean environment in order to avoid any complications, however, these conditions are not available inside the notorious Saudi detention facilities, especially when it comes to political detainees.

Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali also suffers from critical health conditions, as he was suffering from a broken pelvis and had previously suffered a stroke, in addition to the kidneys disease.

Al-Hawali family suffered a number of violations, starting with their humiliating arrest and enforced disappearance, and not being brought before a judicial authority for more than a year, then holding secret court sessions without being able to meet their lawyer or appointing someone to defend them, in addition to their incommunicado detention.

Al-Hawali family is subjected to collective punishment practiced by the Saudi authorities against its opponents and those with a dissident opinion.

Al-Hawali has been deprived of health care since the first moments of his arrest. It is worth noting that the Saudi authorities is still refusing to disclose the conditions of his detention, like dozens of political detainees who suffer from inhuman detention conditions, degrading treatment, and constant torture.

We in the “Together for Justice” organization demand the immediate release of the family of Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, given the imminent danger of arrest to their lives, as well as the unconditional release of all political detainees, whose only mistake was seeking the development of their country.

We stress that opposing the ruling regimes is not a crime. Expressing an opinion is not a crime. On the contrary, it is a right guaranteed to every person as long as it remains peaceful.  The violations practiced against prisoners of conscience in KSA are a crime, for which those responsible must be held accountable.

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