Family of Muhammad Al-Ghamdi appeals for his immediate release before it is too late

The family of the Saudi political prisoner, Muhammed Al-Ghamdi, launched a cry for help via social media platforms, calling on free people around the world and decision-makers to intervene urgently to save their son, who faces death in Saudi prisons, where he is being subjected to ill-treatment and very difficult detention conditions.

Muhammad Al-Ghamdi, a 56-year-old Saudi teacher, has been detained for almost two years for criticizing certain policies of the ruling regime in tweets that were only seen by ten people, the total number of followers he has on social media. In spite of this, the Specialized Criminal Court secretly sentenced him to death in July 2023. Reliable sources affirmed that at the start of the secret trial sessions, he was denied access to the full indictment file and legal representation, just like other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the Kingdom.

Family sources pointed out that Al-Ghamdi had four brain and nerve disorders that were documented in official medical reports even prior to his detention. Despite his urgent need to receive treatment, the prison administration refused the family’s requests to provide him with the appropriate treatment. He consequently experienced additional health decline and a nervous breakdown that resulted in his falling and breaking his teeth.

Mecca-based Al-Ghamdi, a father of seven, has only ten followers on the X platform (formerly known as Twitter). His account was hacked by gents linked to the Saudi government, who used to expose the personal information of users who both tweet and retweet content from well-known opponents of the regime.

In relation to the same charges, this ruling is the most severe of its type. Since detainees accused of tweeting and publishing on social media are often given life sentences and severe prison sentences, however, given the nature of the charges, Al-Ghamdi’s case is the most severe of all.

Furthermore, what makes Al-Ghamdi’s case especially noteworthy is the seemingly tiny scope of his followers.

According to court records, Al-Ghamdi was found guilty of using his social media accounts to support a terrorist ideology and insult the Saudi monarch or crown prince, among other offenses, and was sentenced to death on July 10, 2023 under the nation’s anti-terrorism law.

The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, which was founded 15 years ago to try cases involving terrorism but is also used to try enemies of the government, found him guilty.

Notably, the Saudi Crown Prince voiced his personal disapproval of the verdict against Al-Ghamdi, but he did not actually act to reverse the decision. Mohammed bin Salman said on Fox News, in response to a question concerning Al-Ghamdi’s death sentence: “We are not happy about that… I am sorry, but the jury system requires you to abide by the law. I can not tell the judge to “Do that and ignore the law,” because that would be against the rule of law. But are our laws flawed? Yes. Are we attempting to modify it? Yes.”

It is noteworthy that Al-Ghamdi’s death sentence was imposed in accordance with the Crown Prince’s own 2017 Anti-Terrorism Law.

Saeed Al-Ghamdi, the brother of Al-Ghamdi, is wanted by the Saudi authorities due to his political involvement. Saeed affirmed that the treatment his elder brother Muhammad received amounted to a form of collective punishment and that the government was using it as a means of retaliation against opponents, particularly since they had repeatedly pressured him to come back to the country.

Together for Justice calls on the Saudi authorities to overturn this decision, which represents a further step in the government’s repression of free speech and nonviolent political opposition in the nation, and declares its complete solidarity with the family of the detained Saudi citizen Muhammad Al-Ghamdi.

It also calls for an investigation into the violations to which the prisoners of conscience have been subjected and the release of all of them.

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