Prisoner of conscience Saadallah Al-Hawali subjected to collective punishment in Saudi prisons

Under direct orders from the Saudi regime and without any legal basis, the Saudi judiciary increased the prison sentence of Saadallah Al-Hawali, the brother of Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, from 4 years to 14 years in January 2023, although he fully spent his previous prison sentence.

Beyond this unfair ruling, Saadallah Al-Hawali endured several other violations. Being the younger brother of the detained Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali—who the Saudi authorities regard as one of their worst enemies despite his advanced age and failing health—has instead led to a series of retaliatory violations that he has endured since his arrest.

Saadallah bin Abdul Rahman Al-Hawali was arrested in July 2028 after security forces stormed his home and was subjected to enforced disappearance for years, before being brought before the court and sentenced in a secret session to 4 years in prison on a fabricated charge.

The Saudi Public Prosecution allegedly charged Saadallah Al-Hawali with “leaking an electronic copy of the book “Muslims and Western Civilization,” written by his detained brother Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, which highlights corruption and financial extravagance over activities that do not serve the country,” according to confidential sources.

The trial’s first session, scheduled for June 20, 2021, was postponed for one week due to the judge’s absence, and the second session, scheduled for less than a week later, was postponed due to the defendants’ absence. These actions demonstrate the government’s disrespect for detainees’ rights and their use of the legal system to further their own agendas.

It is important to note that Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali suffers from several health problems, including kidney diseases, a broken pelvis, and a previous stroke. As a result, his son Abdullah gave him one of his kidneys via donation.

Abdullah has a special medical condition as well because, as of right now, he only has one kidney because, several months prior to his arrest, he donated his kidney to his father. Because of this, he needs a specific diet, a unique healthcare system, and hygienic, comfortable living and environmental conditions to avoid complications. None of these things are provided in the infamous Saudi detention facilities, particularly for political prisoners.

The Al-Hawali family suffered from a plethora of human rights violations, including cruel detention, forced disappearance, and a prolonged period of time without being brought before a court. They also had secret trial sessions without access to legal representation or a meeting with a lawyer, and they were denied contact with the outside world and their parents, who were uncooperative in their visits and communications.

The Al-Hawali family is subjected to acts of harassment, abuse, and kidnapping in order to coerce their dissident relatives into resigning from their positions and giving up their right to peaceful expression of their opinions. This is a blatant example of the collective punishment policy that the Saudi authorities employ in dealing with opponents and those who hold differing opinions.

As per reliable sources, Al-Hawali was not provided with medical attention even during the initial hours of his detention. It is important to note that the Saudi authorities continue to impose a blackout on his detention conditions in spite of all demands and appeals. This is the case for the numerous political detainees who endure cruel treatment, dehumanizing conditions, and continuous torture.

We, in Together for Justice, reaffirm commitment to demanding the family of Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali and his members be released immediately from detention because of the grave risk that their continued detention represents to their lives. Additionally, we call for the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience who have committed no crimes other than peaceful opposition that serves the interests of the nation’s advancement.

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