Two years ago today, the leading Saudi human rights figure Abdullah al-Hamid has died on April 23, 2020, after suffering deliberate medical negligence in Saudi jails.
Al-Hamid, 69-years-old, passed away at the hospital after suffering a stroke at Al-Ha’ir prison. He was moved to the hospital for long hours after he fell unconscious. He remained in a coma for two weeks before being proclaimed dead.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamid was serving an 11-years arbitrary prison sentence since March 2013, when he was convicted by Riyadh Specialised Criminal Court on charges related to his work with ACPRA. He was sentenced to five years of imprisonment, in addition to a previous sentence of six years that was upheld.
Al-Hamid was a professor, political reformist, and a co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). He advocated for human rights for over 25 years, and Saudi authorities had detained him more than six times since 1993.
In 2009, al-Hamid and other academics and rights activists co-founded ACPRA in response to the worsening human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. The organization called for Saudi Arabia to apply the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It recommended creating a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and transparent and accountable legal institutions. ACPRA also helped many families sue the Interior Ministry for breaches of Saudi law in arbitrary detention cases.
Saudi human rights activists say that al-Hamid did not receive adequate medical care prior to his death, despite his old age.
Two years on, justice has not been achieved for the late al-Hamid as Saudi authorities refused rights appeals to open an investigation into his death.
In contrast, Al-Ha’ir prison was presented by CBS TV Network as a model to reform inmates with music in an effort to whitewash Saudi poor human rights record.
Therefore, we warn of having another victim in Saudi jails in light of the inhuman detention conditions the prisoners suffer from.
We also call on the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Special Rapporteur on arbitrary detention to intervene urgently to held release all political prisoners in Saudi jails and to ensure having their legal and human rights.