Together for Justice strongly denounces the Saudi court’s decision to retry Abdulaziz Al-Fawzan rather than release him, emphasizing that such arbitrary judicial decisions are politicized and lack any solid legal foundation.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Fawzan was set to be released following his transfer to a rest home a year ago, which came before the decision to release him. However, the judicial authorities chose to keep him in custody longer and retry him in a different case.
Abdulaziz Al-Fawzan was arrested in July 2018 after criticising the crackdown launched by the Saudi authorities against a number of scholars. He was first subjected to a ferocious campaign by pro-regime accounts, which was followed by a travel ban and a ban on using social media. Well-informed sources later confirmed his arrest two weeks later.
Al-Fawzan was born in 1963 in the Qassim region’s Buraidah city. He was a comparative jurisprudence and law professor at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, one of the biggest Islamic universities in the nation, which is a part of the Higher Judicial Institute. Along with heading the Department of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Islamic and Arab Sciences in Washington, he has also served as a visiting professor at Harvard University.
He served on the Saudi Jurisprudence Society and the Council of the Government Human Rights Commission. He also served as a senior consultant for a number of Islamic banks and investment firms.
His scientific career did not prevent his arrest. He was imprisoned alongside hundreds of other dissidents, academics, activists, journalists, and businessmen who were targets of the mid-2017 crackdown.
The court’s ruling was announced a few days after MBS gave an interview in which he blamed “bad laws” and expressed shame over the severe prison sentences imposed on social media activists. However, Saudi judges continue to put human rights activists in prison using these “bad laws.”
Together for Justice urges the international community to act quickly and exert pressure on the Saudi government to pressure it to release all political prisoners, guarantee their rights, and launch investigations into the abuses they have been subjected to.