Dr. Ali Al-Omari faces slow death in Saudi prisons

The Together for Justice has expressed its profound concern regarding the physical abuse and grave medical neglect that Dr. Ali Al-Omari is experiencing in Saudi prisons. This follows a critical decline in his health brought on by kidney failure.

Private sources revealed that Dr. Ali Al-Omari’s kidney failure was caused by willful medical negligence and harsh confinement circumstances that fell short of international standards.

Ali Al-Omari is a Saudi academic and Islamic preacher. He holds a doctorate in the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence. He was chosen as a Goodwill Ambassador for Youth and Humanity at the United Nations. He worked as the President of the Makkah Al-Mukarramah Open University. He is one of the founders of the moderate Islamic channel Four Shabab, and served as Chairman of its Board of Directors before his arrest. The channel was later closed arbitrarily.

Ali Al-Omari was arrested in the September 2017 crackdown campaign launched by the Saudi authorities against opponents, academics, and writers who do not support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) policies. Dr. Ali Al-Omari was arrested in a humiliating manner, and he was charged with allegedly forming a terrorist group aiming to destabilize the security and stability of the Kingdom.

In detention, Al-Omari was subjected to a number of brutal violations. At first, he was kept in solitary confinement and completely denied family visits for 15 months before he was transferred to collective prison cells amid very difficult detention conditions.

During the first months of his arrest, Al-Omari was subjected to the most severe types of torture at the hands of Saudi security personnel and jailers, including beatings, electric shocks, extinguishing cigarettes on his body, and other brutal forms of torture, which caused him severe burns, infections, and deep wounds throughout his body.

A year later, Al-Omari was brought before the court for the first time, in another violation added to the series of violations committed against him, as he was prevented from legal presentation. The trial was held amid complete secrecy, and no one – even from the family – is allowed to attend it or to check his legal file.

In an unexpected move, the Public Prosecution filed a request with the Specialized Criminal Court to sentence Al-Omari to death after accusing him of over thirty counts, including founding a “youth organisation to form a secret terrorist organisation,” despite the fact that none of the events he oversaw were secret and that all the required licenses had been obtained for their establishment.

In this regard, we call on the international community to exert pressure on the Saudi authorities to uphold international human rights norms, such as ensuring that all detainees receive fair trials and have access to legal counsel.

We also call on the international community to stop cooperating with the Saudi regime until it offers concrete and serious guarantees to improve the human rights situation and to keep closely monitoring the situation and holding the Saudi government accountable for any human rights violations.

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