Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: Human rights defender Issa Al-Hamid sentenced to nine years in prison
On 24 April 2016, human rights defender Issa Al-Hamid was sentenced to nine years in prison for his peaceful and legitimate human rights work in Saudi Arabia.
In a hearing which took place on 24 April 2016, the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh sentenced Issa Al-Hamid to nine years in prison followed by another nine years of travel ban to start after he serves his sentence.
Issa Al-Hamid is a founding member and former President of the Civil and Political Rights Association in Saudi Arabia (ACPRA) in 2014. His two brothers, Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamid and Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Hamid are also in prison due to their human rights activities. See: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1168
Issa Al-Hamid was summoned to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in Al-Qassim on 21 November 2013, where he underwent seven interrogation sessions, the last one on 14 January 2014. On 11 March 2014, he was contacted by the police to bring someone to do a bail adversarial. However, he was not allowed to obtain a lawyer during the investigation and interrogation. His trial began at the Buraidah Criminal Court before Judge Sulaiman Al-Olaiqi who, after two hearings, took the surprise decision to refer the case to Judge Mohammed Al-Zahrani at the SCC. Issa Al-Hamid’s trial at the SCC concluded after 16 hearings.
The GHCR calls on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to:
- Immediately and unconditionally revoke the sentence against Issa Al-Hamid and drop all charges against him; and
- Immediately release all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia whose detention relates only to the peaceful and legitimate work in the promotion and protection of human rights.
The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (b and c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necissary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”