On May 25, 2018, the Saudi authorities arrested the businessman and founding member of the Saudi Society for Civil and Political Rights, Mohamed Al-Bajadi, along with the other 12 women defenders of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association ACPRA was established in October 2009, in cooperation between 15 human rights defenders in Saudi, 11 of whom signed the founding document of the association, and the association practiced its work in exposing human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. It also developed a vision for civil and constitutional reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at which time the Kingdom’s government refused to give Al-Bajadi and the members of the association a license to operate legally, and then the members of the organization were subject to arbitrary arrests, especially after a decision was issued in 2013 to dissolve the association and ban its activities.
Al-Bajadi’s arrest in 2018 was not the first time, as he was arrested in March 2011, after participating in a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh with a number of other founders of the association, and in April 2012, the Saudi Anti-Terrorism Court sentenced Al-Bajadi to 4 years in prison on charges related to his work in the human rights field. He was prevented from communicating with lawyers and he had secret court sessions. Among the charges was the establishment of an unlicensed organization, which harms the image of the state in the media, and calling the families of political detainees to demonstrate, challenging the independence of the judiciary, and possession of banned books.
In November 2015, when it was time to release Al-Bajadi after spending his term, he was transferred to the Muhammad bin Nayef Center for Consultation and Care, to rehabilitate extremists, despite the fact that his criminal record was free from any acts of violence.
On April 7, the authorities released them from the inside Rehabilitation Center but decided to ban him from traveling until 2020.
On September 1, 2007, a group of women and children from the families of those detained without trial demonstrated in front of the headquarters of the Qassim region in the city of Al-Buraidah. The demonstration was followed by the arrest of a number of activists including Abdullah Al-Hamid, Eisa Al-Hamid, Ahmed Hosny, and Mohamed Al-Bajadi, and charged with calling for demonstrations. Al-Bajadi was arrested from September 4, 2007, to January 1, 2008.
On January 9, 2008, Al-Bajadi was arrested again and his files and passport were confiscated after he made contact between activists Abdullah Al-Hamid and Matrouk Al-Faleh and after he spoke to the media about the conditions of his previous detention. He was released on January 11, 2008, but he remained banned from traveling.
Human rights organizations stood in solidarity with Al-Bajadi, describing his detention as part of a crackdown on women’s rights activists and human rights defenders all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, indicating that Saudi Arabia will not stop at banning human rights activities or criticizing government practices and policies and that civil society organizations will continue to be suppressed and their members arrested.
Together for Justice Organization called on the authorities of Saudi Arabia to release Al-Bajadi and all detainees pending cases related to human rights activities in Saudi and to enable him and all other detainees their full political and human rights.
It also called on the government to respect human rights in accordance with the international human rights laws, which preserve every person’s right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to work in accordance with the legal frameworks in the country’s laws.