In June 2016, Saudi authorities arrested Dr. Ibrahim Al-Sakran, one of the intellectuals and the elite of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the forces stormed his house and arrested him from his home in Riyadh and the court sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment.
Who is he?
Ibrahim Al-Sakran is a Saudi citizen, born on April 4, 1976. He studied at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals for one year, then transferred to Imam Mohamed bin Saud University in Riyadh to study Sharia.
Al-Sakran obtained a master’s degree in Legal Policy from the Higher Judicial Institute in Riyadh, and then he travelled to the UK where he studied for a master’s degree in International Commercial Law from the University of Essex in Colchester, UK.
His intellectual orientation
Ibrahim Al-Sakran began his intellectual life with a liberal methodology within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and became famous in 2003 after presenting a paper to develop scientific courses in Saudi Arabia during the Saudi National Dialogue Forum. He provided a full account of what he considered an imbalance in religious teaching in Saudi Arabia, which he attributed to the deviation of religious education from tolerance, coexistence and European concepts of life. He also called to reduce the amount of education on issues of unfaith and called for promoting the study of human rights.
A few years later, Al-Sakran shifted to the purely Islamic curriculum in 2007 as he presented a paper entitled “The outcomes of civil discourse,” followed by a book had been published in which he linked between civil discourse and divine revelation based on the foundations of revelation, and this paper caused controversy among those affiliated with the liberal current in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Sakran became very famous as he began the procedures of research and studies, especially the fields related to Islamic research, modernity and the modernist interpretation of Islamic heritage.
Al-Sakran’s opposition against some of the Kingdom’s laws on the freedom of opinion and expression and silencing voices became to intensify, and he opposed the decision of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Governor of Makkah, to ban the Holy Quran teaching sessions.
In 2011 Al-Sakran opposed the Kingdom’s policies in arresting anyone who has a different opinion to the state’s policies, especially arresting women, and published a video in which he appealed to King Abdullah to preserve the dignity of women, protect them and guarantee their right to demonstrate calling for the release of their detained husbands.
A voice that must be silenced
This free voice that disturbed the Saudi’s authorities had to be silenced. Immediately the authorities arrested him in 2016 and sentenced him to five-year imprisonment by the court ruling in Riyadh, after charging him with inciting against the state, threatening national security, and advocating terrorist movements.
After finishing his term he was released and immediately arrested again without a legal basis until now.
He is spending his life in prison for being a free man living in Saudi Arabia, who had to be silenced; otherwise, he would have been killed like Khashoggi and Abdulah Al-Hamid or detained like thousands of other detainees from all ideological currents in Saudi Arabia.