Together for Justice condemns the continued detention of the Saudi scholar Issam Al-Owaid amid very difficult and unhuman detention conditions, although he had completed his prison term more than two years ago.
Al-Owaid was arbitrary arrested in February 2017 on charges of “finalising a terrorist group” over his contribution in collecting donations for the Al-Emaar Charitable Foundation, which was legally acting within the Kingdom.
Over his pro-democracy opinion, Al-Owaid was targeted more than once by the Saudi security services.
In December 2019, the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court sentenced him to four years in prison, with a one-year suspended sentence. Accordingly, he was due to be released in January 2020. However, Saudi authorities refused his release.
In February 2022, the Saudi Court of Appeal decided to retry him without any legal basis.
Well-informed sources affirmed that the Court of Appeal held his first retrial session six months ago. However, no prison order was issued so far.
Al-Owaid’s trial was secretly held without the presence of his legal team or his family.
Issam Al-Owaid is a prominent Saudi scholar and a lecturer at Al-Imam University in Riyadh.
We, in Together for Justice, call on UN agencies to pressure the Saudi authorities for the release of Issam Al-Owaid and all prisoners of conscience, activists and intellectuals held in Saudi jails.
We also stress that the Saudi regime’s reform and modernisation attempts are meaningless as long as hundreds of activists, academics, and political prisoners are still arbitrary held in its jails.