Saudi businessman Youssef Al-Hajj forcibly disappeared for 6 years

Businessman Yousef Muhammad Rabie Al-Hajj was detained by Saudi security forces in May 2018 as part of a crackdown campaign aimed at young intellectuals, activists, and entrepreneurs who supported the right to free speech and opposed certain government policies pertaining to particular cases.

Youssef Al-Hajj has not been heard from since the security forces took him to an unidentified place and prevented his family from getting in touch with him or learning anything about his legal situation or his detention centre. Instead, the family was told not to discuss his arrest with anyone, and they actually kept the news about him a secret for more than four years out of concern that it would hurt other family members.

The official reason for Youssef Al-Hajj’s arrest has not yet been made public, but confidential sources have confirmed that the security services targeted him because of his views on entrepreneurship, development, and ending the unemployment crisis. He also wants to open up new opportunities for youth empowerment and the use of their skills, but the Saudi regime will not accept any plans for success and development that do not fit within the elite circle of the Crown Prince’s men and advisors for political and financial reasons. As such, Al-Hajj’s dream of improving society and giving young people employment opportunities was dashed.

His family and numerous human rights organisations filed requests to the authorities seeking information about Youssef Al-Hajj’s whereabouts and detention conditions; however, the authorities disregarded these requests, and his legal status remains undetermined as of this writing.

Thus, Together for Justice calls on the international community to take effective action to end enforced disappearance, torture, and arbitrary detention, to reveal the fate of all individuals who have been forcibly disappeared in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to hold those responsible for these violations accountable before domestic or international law.

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