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Fadel Al-Manasif Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Rejecting Collective Punishment of Dissidents’ Families

On October 2, 2011, the Saudi security forces arrested Saeed Abdullah Al Abdel Aal and Hassan Ahmed Ali Al Zayed – both are over sixty years old – to put pressure on their sons who participated in the 2011 demonstrations in Qatif to surrender.

Many activists and human rights defenders rejected this act, including the activist and journalist Fadel Al-Manasif, who went to the Awamiya police station to convince the security officers that it is unethical to arrest the elderly men in pursuit of their sons, in addition to being illegal.

 The police considered this act a crime that threatens public security and arrested Al-Manasif. He was transferred to Al-Dammam Investigation Department, and he remained in detention since then.

Al-Manasif was accused of participating in opposition protests that called for respect of human rights and applying democracy. He was also accused of “tarnishing the image of the Saudi Kingdom” by communicating with foreigners and by publishing articles on the internet.

Fadel Makki Al-Manasif is a Saudi blogger, writer and photographer. He is also a founding member of the Justice Centre for Human Rights.

Al-Manasif was arrested three times by Saudi security for his prominent role in monitoring and documenting many human rights violations committed by the Saudi regime against opponents, activists, political detainees and their families. His first arrest was in 2009, when he was arrested on charges of participating in a peaceful demonstration, and the second was in April 2011, while the last was in October 2011.

Al-Manasif was subjected to torture and ill-treatment during his second and third arrests, with the aim of extracting confessions of him.

Al-Manasif was placed in solitary confinement for long periods, where he remained for four consecutive months, and his family was not allowed to visit him for 10 months after his arrest. Until now, visits or phone calls remain irregular.

In April 2014, the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced Al-Manasif to 15 years in prison and a travel ban for another 15 years after the completion of his sentence, in addition to a fine of 100,000 Saudi riyals.

It is worth noting that the court relied on his confessions that were extracted under duress, despite it being illegal according to international conventions.

The ruling issued against Al-Manasif is flawed, illegal, and marred by many legal violations. Saudi courts have become a tool in the hands of the current Saudi regime, used to take revenge on opponents and abuse them.

We call on the international community, which pays homage to human rights, justice and freedom, to take a serious stance on the increasing violations of the Saudi regime against the opponents and activists, and to stop cooperating with until all prisoners of conscience are released and the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia improves.

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