Saudi Arabia: Authorities continue to detain ten Egyptian citizens arrested in connection with Nubian symposium in July 2020

19.06.21

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls for the release of ten Egyptian citizens in Saudi Arabia who remain in prison without charge since their arrest in July 2020 in violation of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly. It was the second time the men, who are Nubians, were arrested in connection with a public symposium they had organised in October 2019. The Egyptian government supported the actions of the Saudi authorities.

On 14 July 2020, the General Directorate of Investigation (Al-Mabahith) re-arrested the ten Egyptian citizens in Riyadh. They had previously been arrested on 25 October 2019 prior to a public symposium, and freed on 25 December 2019.

They are:

  1. Adel Sayed Ibrahim Fakir, current head of the Nubian community in Riyadh (photo above left), who is from the village of Ballana in southern Egypt.
  2. Dr. Farajallah Ahmed Yousif, former head of the Nubian community in Riyadh (photo above right).
  3. Jamal Abdullah Masri, head of the Dhamit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  4. Mohammed Fathallah Jumaa, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  5. Hashim Shater, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  6. Ali Jumaa Ali, member of the Dhamit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  7. Saleh Jumaa Ahmed, member of the Dhamit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  8. Abdulsalam Juma Ali, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  9. Abdullah Jumaa Ali, President of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
  10. Wael Ahmed Hassan, head of the Thomas Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.

Informed sources confirmed to GCHR that the ten men were transferred three months ago to Asir Prison in the city of Abha, the administrative headquarters and capital of the Asir region. They are not allowed access to a lawyer.

On 25 October 2019, they were scheduled to hold a symposium on the anniversary of the 06 October 1973 war, but on the morning of the symposium, Al-Mabahith officers arrested Dr. Farajallah and summoned his nine colleagues to the police station, where they were arrested. They were asked to explain the reason why they had not placed the image of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the symposium’s poster, which included pictures of some Nubian figures (the main photo). They were released on 25 December 2019, after 60 days of arbitrary detention in Al-Ha'ir Prison in Riyadh.

On 29 October 2019, after their first arrest, the Egyptian Consulate General in Riyadh issued a statement in which it supported the actions of the Saudi authorities, instead of defending and protecting its citizens and working for their immediate release.

The Nubian associations were established decades ago, and they do not have any political goals, as all their cultural and social activities aim at increasing knowledge among the members of the Nubian community and strengthening their bond with each other, especially while in exile from their mother country, Egypt.

GCHR condemns in the strongest terms the repeated arbitrary detention of the ten Egyptian citizens, who have been imprisoned for almost a year, in violation of their right to peaceful assembly. GCHR demands their immediate and unconditional release.

The Saudi authorities should make every effort to protect the existence of minorities, their national or ethnic identity, and their cultural, religious and linguistic identity, and to create conditions that strengthen this identity and enable them to carry out their peaceful activities without any harassment or arbitrary measures. The Saudi authorities should further uphold their international obligations to preserve the rights to freedom of assembly and association.