Qatari Student is still detained in Saudi Arabia despite Reconciliation

In January 2021, Doha and Riyadh signed the Al-Ula Summit Agreement, which was held in Medina, Saudi Arabia, to end the dispute between the two countries that lasted more than three years after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed an air and economic blockade.

Since the severing of relations with Qatar in June 2017, the regimes of the blockading countries, including the Saudi regime, have committed a number of grave violations against Qatari citizens residing inside their country, separating families, depriving Qatari students of continuing their studies in universities in those countries and arresting many Qataris for varying periods only for holding the Qatari citizenship.

Abdulaziz Saeed Abdullah is a student residing in Saudi Arabia since 2014 and studying at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah. On July 6, 2018, Saudi state security forces arrested him after raiding his home in the Al-Awali neighborhood of Aziziyah in Mecca following the severing of relations with Qatar.

News of Abdulaziz was cut off for more than a year and a half, and his fate remained unknown despite all the demands made by his family to reveal his fate, and despite UN interventions to inquire about what happened with him.

In January 2019, in response to one of the United Nations Working Group on enforced disappearance’s communication about the fate of Abdul Aziz, the Saudi authorities announced his detention in the prison of the General Directorate of Investigations in Riyadh without further details.

Until then, Abdel Aziz was not allowed to contact his family or a lawyer. On March 2, 2020, he was transferred to Abha prison, where he was placed in solitary confinement. He was allowed to call his family once a week for 10 minutes only, and the calls continued until August 24, 2020.

in September and October 2020, his family tried to call him on the numbers he was calling from Abha prison, but prison authorities denied his presence, and on November 25, 2020, Abdullah was allowed to call his family again for five minutes from Abha prison.

Abdulaziz’s legal position is still unknown to date, as he has not been officially charged, and deprived of his right to family visits or receiving legal assistance.

The Saudi authorities refuse to cooperate with any party regarding his health condition, which has deteriorated severely due to severe torture inside his detention facility, according to private sources.

We call on the relevant UN bodies to intensify their efforts to pressure the Saudi authorities to release the Qatari student Abdulaziz Saeed Abdullah, ensure he obtains all his legal and human rights while opening investigations into the violations he has been subjected to since the beginning of his detention.

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