Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda
The Saudi authorities arrested Sheikh Salman bin Fahd Al-Ouda, one month after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced a full blockage against Qatar.
Al-Ouda wrote a tweet calling for unity of the people while remaining silent about all the policies of the Saudi regime during that period; however, the Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman found this a good reason to arrest the Saudi preacher and thinker.
Recently, the son of Sheikh Salman, Abdullah Al-Ouda, a professor of Islamic political thought at George Washington University in USA, announced the details of his father’s arrest who received a strange phone call informing him that he is being monitored by the Saudi authorities, including details of Al-Ouda’s movements in where and what he eats, and where he prays.
Dr. Abdullah added that his father asked the caller if he had any specific question or request to fulfill. The latter asked him to wait and hung up the phone as the security services arrived and knocked violently on the door of the Sheikh’s house.
As soon as Sheikh Al-Ouda opened the door, men belonging to the state security apparatus asked him to go with them for a few hours, after which he would return home. One of the men spoke to Abdullah Al-Ouda, asking him not to talk about his father’s arrest to anyone, as he will return soon.
Following this, he disappeared for five consecutive months, during which he was detained in inhuman conditions. Al-Ouda, an elderly sheikh, was deprived of food and drink for days before food was thrown to him in bags while he was handcuffed.
After a period of arrest, Abdullah came across a person who told him that he had met his father in the hospital without his family’s knowledge, and that his health was severely deteriorating. According to Abdullah, his father was placed in a very small cell, “one square meter” without a toilet. He also suffers deliberate medical negligence, which caused him severe high blood pressure.
Investigations and Trial
The investigation documents consisted of posts and tweets on social media for Al-Ouda, monitored by the Saudi cyber security services. They accused him of treason for not participating in the campaign against Qatar.
Half of the trial judges that Al-Ouda had to appear before were arrested shortly before the trial. The Public Prosecution demanded the execution of Al-Ouda after charging him with 37 charges including corruption, calling for a change in the Saudi government, joining international associations and organisations, inciting public opinion and sedition and ridicule of the achievements of the Saudi government.
“Together for Justice” organisation calls on the international community and civil society organisations to stand against the practices of the Saudi regime and to pressure it to release Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda and all detainees of opinion, thinkers and activists, and to save them from the inhuman detention conditions in Saudi prisons which lacks monitoring and accountability.