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Salman Al-Ouda: Witness of the Saudi Regime’s Double Standards

On February 1, the Saudi preacher and reformer Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda was born. However, he spends his birthday in Saudi prisons for the fifth time in a row, where he is subjected to inhuman treatment and complete deprivation of his most basic rights.

Al-Ouda was arrested in September 2017, during a fierce campaign against activists, scholars and academics opposing or critical of the policies of the Saudi regime. He was arrested for his stance on the siege of Qatar and for calling for reconciliation

Al-Ouda’s family stressed that he suffers from critical health conditions due to medical negligence and his incommunicado detention. His son Abdullah tweeted that the prison doctor told his father that he almost lost half of his hearing and sight during his long period of solitary confinement. He also added that his father is being subjected to slow killing via deliberate medical negligence.

Since the beginning of his detention, Sheikh Al-Ouda has been suffering inside inhumane conditions of detention, violation of all his legal and human rights, and his health continues to deteriorate severely, posing danger to his life.

The denial of treatment and the ongoing arbitrary detention of Al-Ouda, despite the reconciliation with Qatar, reveal the double standards of the Saudi regime.

Al-Ouda is currently being tried before the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh on charges of “terrorism and conspiracy against the state.” his trial takes place in secret sessions, in the absence of the media or international organisations, and amid complete deprivation of any legal representation. Moreover, the Public Prosecution demands his execution and a number of other prisoners of conscience for “opposing the rulers.”.

Al-Ouda is facing 37 charges, including inciting society, despite only calling for a change in the Saudi government, joining international unions.

Although solitary confinement is a punishment that must be for a specific period of time and for specific reasons, the Saudi regime deliberately uses it indefinitely and as a means of psychological torture of opponents.

The Saudi authorities should release Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda immediately and provide him with the necessary medical treatment immediately before it is too late.

We call on the UN Group on Arbitrary Detention, UN Group on Enforced Disappearance, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to take immediate action to end the suffering of the detainees and to pressure the Saudi authorities to respect basic human rights principles and release them immediately.

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