Saudi lawyer Mohammed Al-Bajadi sacrificed his freedom to defend his people’s freedoms

Approximately six years have passed since Mohammed Al-Bajadi, a well-known Saudi lawyer and human rights advocate, was taken into custody. Every second he spends in his cell—where he should not have been held in the first place—his most fundamental human rights are being violated.

As part of a ferocious crackdown by the Saudi authorities on political activists and advocates for women’s rights, Al-Bajadi was taken into custody in May 2018. After being held at an unidentified location initially, he was brought before the Specialized Criminal Court, where he was denied legal presentation.

Al-Bajadi had previously been imprisoned. He had previously been detained in March 2011, at the start of the Arab Spring, for taking part in a protest demonstration in front of the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh. He was detained alongside many other activists and demonstrators over links to the Saudi “Hasm” organisation. After an entirely unfair trial, he was found guilty and given a 4-year prison sentence. He was released in April 2016, one year after his sentence ended. He was also banned from traveling.

On September 1, 2007, families of political prisoners detained without being given the opportunity to defend themselves staged a protest in front of the Emirate of the Qassim region’s headquarters in Buraidah. Many activists, including Abdullah Al-Hamid, Issa Al-Hamid, Ahmed Al-Hassani, and Muhammad Al-Bajadi, were arrested after the demonstration on charges of inciting the protest. Al-Bajadi remained in custody until January 1, 2008.

After speaking with the media about the conditions of his previous detention and establishing contact with activists Abdullah Al-Hamid and Matrook Al-Faleh, Al-Bajadi was arrested once more on January 9, 2008, and his documents and passport were seized. On January 11, 2008, he was freed, but his travel ban was still in effect.

He was rearrested in 2018, as we previously stated, and experienced the same mistreatment as he had during his initial incarceration. He endured physical and mental abuse, as well as torture and humiliation. He was stripped of his most basic rights. He was even denied the right to contact his family or his lawyer.

Together for Justice urges the international community to carry out the necessary actions to stop these abhorrent practices of torture and arbitrary detention. It also demands that all prisoners of conscience be released immediately, that the fates of all those who were forcibly disappeared be revealed, and that all individuals implicated in any violations held accountable.

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