Increasing Prison Sentence of Sheikh Ismail Al-Hassan Is Arbitrary, Political Decision

Together for Justice strongly condemns the Specialised Criminal Court’s decision to increase the prison sentence of Sheikh Ismail Al-Hassan from 10 years to 12 years, without any legal justification, as arbitrary and highly politicised.

Sheikh Ismail Al-Hassan is the director of the office of the detained Saudi preacher Safar Al-Hawali. After returning from a foreign trip, he was taken into custody at the airport in August 2018. According to the sources, no arrest warrant had been issued against him, but Saudi security arrested him for being the office director of Al-Hawali who had been arrested a few weeks before.

Along with his son Ibrahim, Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali was taken into custody in July 2018 from his home in the village of Al-Hawala, southwest of Saudi Arabia. The arrest followed a search of the residence, intimidation of its occupants, and the seizure of the residents’ computers and mobile phones without a legal warrant. This occurred a few hours after Abdullah and Abdul Rahman, his other two sons, were taken into custody.

The family was taken to an undisclosed location, where they were kept under enforced disappearance for over three months without any news of their fate.

It is worth noting that Abdullah Al-Hawali suffers from a special health condition, as he only has one kidney – after he donated his kidney to his father several months before his arrest, which means that he needs a special diet and health care, with clean and comfortable living and environmental conditions so that he does not suffer from any health complications, but these conditions are not available inside the notorious Saudi detention centers.

In addition to his kidney failure, Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali also suffers from other serious health problems. He also had a broken pelvis and had experienced a stroke.

The authorities did not officially announce the charges filled against them. But their detention came Dr. Safar al-Hawali published a book critical of the Saudi policies at home and abroad under the title “Muslims and Western Civilization”. The book slammed the Saudi heavy spending and precious gifts during the US former president Donald Trump’s first visit to the Kingdom.

According to the sources, the first court session was supposed to be held on June 20, 2021. However, it was postponed for a week on the pretext that the judge did not attend the session. The second session was also postponed on the pretext that the detainees did not appear to the court.

In January 2023, the Saudi authorities increased the prison sentence of Abdul Rahman Al-Hawali from 7 years to 17 years, Abdullah Al-Hawali from 6 years to 16 years, and Abdul Rahim Al-Hawali, from 6 years to 15 years, while his brother Saad Allah al-Hawali’s prison sentence was increased from 4 to 14 years.

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