Saudi Courts Are Places for Revenge On Opponents and Opinion Holders
“Together for Justice” organisation has followed with great concern the continuation of the Saudi regime’s violation of the right to a fair trial and the transformation of courtrooms into arenas for revenge on opponents, political detainees and opinion holders, especially following toughening penalties became the main approach of judges.
Over this year, “Together for Justice” has noted the Saudi regime’s increasing the punishment of many political detainees whose sentences are nearing completion, in secret sessions and without the presence of any representative to defend detainees who were not allowed or their families to view the indictment file.
According to private sources, the team was able to monitor the harsh sentences against a number of detainees, such as Dr. “Mohamed Musa Al-Sharif” – a university professor and former pilot who has been detained since September 2017, whose sentence was increased from 5 years to 13 years.
The prison sentence of Dr. Youssef Al-Ahmed, an Islamic preacher and one of the detainees of the September 2017 campaign, was extended from 4 years to 13 years.
The Court of Appeal in Riyadh also acknowledged the increase in prison years in its rulings against Sheikh Dr. “Ali Omar Badahdah”, where it decided to increase his sentence from 6 years to 9 years, and it is worth noting that he was also one of the detainees of the September 2017 campaign.
It also decided to increase the years of imprisonment of another detainee from the September 2017 campaign, “Adel Bana’ma”, from 4 years to 6 years.
It is worth noting that the Specialised Criminal Court had previously issued a ruling commuting the sentences of both “Badahdah” and “Bana’ma”, but the Court of Appeal decided to increase the sentence without clear legal reasons.
Leaving judges without accountability or supervision to abuse detainees and issue severe judicial rulings and harsh penalties without any clear legal basis constitutes a serious violation of the guarantees of a fair trial and the right of defense guaranteed by international law within its multiple agreements, especially since these increases are not based on legal and factual reasons.
We stress the need for the urgent intervention of the relevant authorities in the international community and the various regimes to put an end to the brutal and repressive practices of the Saudi regime against opponents, and to form an urgent committee to examine all these provisions and ensure that all detainees receive their right to a fair trial.