Salem Al-Dini: Seven years of arbitrary detention in Saudi Arabia over his charitable activity

Salem Al-Dini is a reformist academic who was arrested seven years ago by the Saudi regime for his charitable work and helping the poor worldwide, and helping the needy. Although no formal charges have been made against him to date, he has not been released.

Shortly after Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) assumed power, Salem Al-Dini was arrested during the September 2017 campaign that targeted dozens of academics, thinkers, writers, preachers, and activists from all over the Kingdom. Since then, many of these individuals have remained in arbitrary detention; some are serving prison sentences following unfair trials, and others, like Salem Al-Dini, have not yet had their legal status determined.

Al-Dani was deprived of his most fundamental legal rights after his arrest, including being kept in solitary confinement for an extended period of time, not being brought before the courts, and being prohibited from hiring legal counsel. Furthermore, all of his family members were prohibited from traveling without a valid reason.

A month prior to his arrest, Dr. Salem Al-Dini was arbitrarily fired from his role as Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, which constitutes another violation that he experienced prior to his arrest.

Salem Al-Dani is a Saudi scholar with a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a diploma in counseling that focuses on behavior modification through cognitive therapy. Prior to his arrest, he worked for over 20 years as a relief and charitable worker and as an Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

The Saudi regime says it will modernize and transform society, but the unprecedented degree of repression the authorities have achieved proves that the Middle Ages’ tyranny still rules the Kingdom. This is because every reform is accompanied by a set of arbitrary and repressive policies that deny citizens their most basic rights, such as the ability to express their disapproval or criticism of any decision made by the regime.

We urge the international community to exert pressure on the Saudi government to uphold international human rights standards, particularly making sure that detainees are given fair trials and have access to legal representation.

We also call on the international community to stop cooperating with the Saudi government in any capacity until it offers concrete and serious assurances that the situation will improve while also keeping a close eye on the situation and holding the Saudi government accountable for any human rights violations.

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