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Economists Behind Bars: Nearly Two Years after the Arrest of Reformist Hilal Hussein Al-Qurashi

About 21 months have passed since the Saudi reformist economist Hilal Hussein Al-Qurashi was arbitrarily arrested by the security forces, who have not yet been formally charged.

Al-Qurashi was arrested in April 2020 as part of the fierce security campaign that targeted a number of activists, journalists and those demanding their legitimate rights in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Qurashi did not have any criminal record or sought to dismantle society. He lead an economic initiative to revive the economy and enhance Vision 2030 adopted by the Crown Prince, however, the young prince rejects any reform initiative that he does not personally represent.

Al-Qurashi was the editor-in-chief of the “Third Bank” platform, a non-profit knowledge enrichment initiative that aims to empower the non-profit sector to be a real player in the Saudi Vision 2030, but the authorities considered his reform intentions a boldness that must be punished by law. He is now held in Saudi prisons suffering deplorable conditions and degrading treatment and violation of his most basic legal rights through the appointment of a lawyer.

We affirm that the current regime’s policies of silencing dissenting voices and silencing any reformist voice would lead the country to the abyss and deprive it of any manpower that would be able to advance the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We call on the actors in the international community to take decisive and firmer measures in dealing with the Saudi regime, which is encouraged by international silence to commit more crimes and violations against its people.

We also call on the relevant UN bodies to form international committees, open immediate investigations into violations committed by the Saudi regime, inspect and evaluate prison conditions in Saudi Arabia, and put pressure on the regime to release prisoners of conscience and activists and ensure that they obtain all their rights.

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