Dr Saleh Al Talib: The Imam of the Holy Mosque in Mecca who turned into a prisoner in Saudi cells

On August 19, 2018, the prisoners of conscience account on Twitter confirmed the arrest of the Imam of the Holy Mosque, Sheikh Dr Saleh Al-Talib for making preach on bad deeds and the need to reject it.


Sheikh Saleh Al-Talib was born on January 23, 1974. His family goes back to the Huwtat Bani Taimi, from Hawtat Bani Tamim, which is an ancient family in the Arabian Peninsula known for its brilliance in science, the judiciary, the sciences of Sharia and the Quran.

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Sheikh Saleh worked as a judge at the Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia, and he never opposed the Saudi regime, however, he objected to the new policies which the Crown Prince wanted to force society on, whether in his dealings with the Israeli occupation state or in closing religious institutions and replacing them with an entertainment institution, which was criticized by the Sheikh at the end of his preach.

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In the last tweet of the sheikh, he congratulated the pilgrims on the Day of Tarwiyah with a short video of his Friday preaches at the Holy Mosque in Mecca, before Bin Salman’s security forces arrested him a few hours later.
Extensive Solidarity

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Since the arrest of Sheikh Saleh Al Talib, social media pages started a wide campaign of solidarity with him, as the tweeters denounced the arrest of everyone with an opinion in Saudi Arabia, and condemned the restriction on speech at the Holy Mosque in Mecca, although the preacher never opposed the policies of the government or the laws of the country.

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Videos of his preach went viral on social media with calls for his immediate release. Social media users also called on his fellow preachers to intervene with the authorities for his release.

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During his last preach, for which he got arrested, he refuted the crisis of Israelis in the world and called on the people to preserve the land of Palestine, its people and its sanctities. He also stated that the land of Palestine belongs to the Arabs and Muslims, rejecting the dealings of Arab governments with the Israeli occupation state at the expense of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.

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He said that everyone seeking to impose their control over the lands of Jerusalem are seeking to spread chaos in the region, fuel violence, instil hatred, and spill blood; all of which will cause a rift in the society and distortions in the world’s civilization.

Sheikh Talib also called on governments to cooperate, strive for peace and solidarity, instead of spreading violence and division. His words were a clear criticism of the decision to consider Jerusalem the capital of the Israeli occupation by Arab countries.

Human Rights Criticism

Human rights organizations condemned the arrest of the sheikh and called on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to immediately release him and all prisoners of conscience, as Human Rights Watch said that freedoms in Saudi are in danger since Mohamed bin Salman came to power.

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It demanded the authorities disclose the place of detention of the Sheikh and enable him to see his family and lawyer, and to treat him with dignity until he is released.

Together for Justice also condemned the arrest of the sheikh and considered this acts as a mean to silence and restrict the freedom of opinion in Saudi, especially with the ongoing campaign of arrests.

The organization also denounced the Saudi authorities’ continued renewal of the detention of Al-Talib without a charge or a fair trial, as well as not allowing him to communicate with his family since his arrest. It called on the Saudi authorities to release him immediately,

enable him to return to his judicial and advocacy work, and open the field of freedoms to various segments of society, and those working in the fields of institutional civil work in accordance with the Kingdom’s laws.

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