Saudi judge sentenced to life imprisonment… Will his rulings against prisoners of conscience be dropped?

Human rights sources revealed that Saudi judge Abdulaziz Madawi Al Jaber, a former assistant to the president of the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. This came nearly two years after he and nine other judges were detained under suspicious circumstances.

In April 2022, ten judges who were close to the Saudi regime were detained by the Saudi authorities; neither their charge nor their detention centres were disclosed. After several months, they appeared before the court in secret, where the Saudi Public Prosecution demanded that they be put to death on the grounds that they had committed “high treason.”

Witnesses reported that State Security vehicles pulled up to the courts and took the ten judges out of their offices. Following several months of total media silence, the state declared that these judges faced charges of betraying, which amount to death sentence in Saudi Arabia.

The judges in question are: Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Luhaidan; Abdulaziz bin Madawi Al Jaber; Jundub Al Mufarreh; Abdulaziz bin Fahd Al-Dawoud; Talal Al-Humaidan; Fahd Al-Sagheer (from the Specialized Criminal Court); Khaled bin Awaid Al-Qahtani; Nasser bin Saud Al-Harbi; and Muhammad Al-Amri and Muhammad bin Misfer Al-Ghamdi (from the Supreme Court).

Interestingly, these judges were all men of the Saudi regime, who had always been used as a means of settling scores with activists, political opponents, and prisoners of conscience. Ironically, these judges witnessed the same horrifying and cruel conditions of incarceration about which the detainees had consistently complained, but instead of listening to them, they disregarded their complaints.

Since it is obvious that these judges have committed serious violations over the years, many are left wondering: Will these judges’ rulings against prisoners of conscience be cancelled? Will the victims of these severe sentences receive compensation from the state? Will the sentences be revoked and the prisoners who suffered physical and psychological abuse as a result of their incarceration receive rehabilitation?

Judge Al Jaber executed numerous individuals, including minors who were not of legal age. Al Jaber actually carried out 40 executions of prisoners of conscience, including one mass execution in March 2022 that involved 81 individuals.

Al Jaber has also presided over judicial panels since September 2020, overseeing the trials of numerous detainees, including Palestinian and Jordanian detainees working in the Kingdom as well as Saudi prisoners of conscience.

Al Jaber held the positions of President of the General Court in the Yadma Governorate in the Najran region, Judge of the Criminal Court in the Jeddah Governorate, and Judge of the Specialized Criminal Court since the court’s founding prior to issuing a decision designating him as Assistant President of the Specialized Criminal Court.

Along with emphasizing everyone’s right to freedom, dignified treatment, and a fair trial if proven guilty in a court of law, Together for Justice reaffirms its total rejection of all forms of arbitrary detention, regardless of the identity or orientation of the person being arrested.

It also calls on the Saudi authorities to reevaluate the convictions rendered by these ten judges and provide compensation to the impacted individuals and their families, in addition to demanding a fair trial for all.

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