Saudi authorities continue to politically blackmail Al-Dosari family, including elderly woman

Five members of Saudi businessman Nader Al-Dosari’s family are still being held in Saudi jails without being charged or allowed to speak to a lawyer as retaliation for his attempt to sue the Saudi government in US courts.

In an attempt to put pressure on his father to cease bringing legal action against Saudi officials, the Saudi authorities detained five relatives of Rakan Al-Dosari, an American citizen of Saudi origin and the son of businessman Nader Al-Dosari.

According to Rakan Nader Al-Dosari, Saudi security forces arrested four family members on May 11, 2023, namely his uncles, Dr. Salman Turki Al-Dosari and Sultan Turki Al-Dosari, his aunt, and his grandfather’s wife, Munira Muhammad Al-Qahtani, a Kuwaiti citizen who suffers from very difficult health conditions. The fifth was Nayef Turki Al-Dosari who was arrested on April 9, 2024.

Following a protracted legal battle concerning a 1994 agreement to build an oil refinery on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Nader Al-Dosari filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the Saudi government in Pennsylvania. Among the defendants in the lawsuit is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The lawsuit charges the former Crown Prince and other Saudi officials with breaching a decades-old contract pertaining to a refinery project on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. After a while, the current Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s name was added to the lawsuit because Mohammed bin Nayef was put under house arrest and had his assets seized.

The US courts dismissed the lawsuit, earlier last year, Saudi authorities arrested Rakan’s family members in a first-degree retaliation move, according to a statement released last week by ALQST for Human Rights, Democracy in the Arab World Now, and the Freedom Initiative.

Together for Justice strongly condemns the use of a private business dispute to justify an arbitrary detention, accusing the Saudi judiciary of a “gross abuse of power.”

On June 9, 2021, Rakan Al-Dosari recorded and sent an urgent video message through the US Embassy in Riyadh asking President Biden to intervene and protect them from retaliation by Saudi officials. The Embassy replied that they would share the message with the US State Department.

Despite this, US government agencies did not respond, and Al-Dosari and Rakan were able to flee Saudi Arabia in June 2021 after receiving information about the government’s intention to target them in retaliation for the lawsuit.

In this regard, we join the chorus of human rights organisations demanding the release of the Al-Dosari family members and an end to their persecution. We also emphasise that the Biden administration must also impose the Khashoggi ban on all Saudi officials, including judges and prosecutors, who took part in the foreign harassment of the Al-Dosari family.

Under the Khashoggi ban, the State Department is able to restrict visas for people who directly engage in serious extraterritorial counter-dissent activities while acting on behalf of a foreign government.

We assert that the oppressive measures and persecution the Al-Dosari family endured in the Kingdom—which are classified as collective punishment—are just one more illustration of the risks Saudi nationals who consider criticizing the nation’s de facto leader face.

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