Saudi Arabia: Family of Yemeni journalist Ali Mohsen Ahmed Abu Lahoum prevented from visiting while awaiting Supreme Court decision

24.08.22

Yemeni journalist Ali Mohsen Ahmed Abu Lahoum is still awaiting the Saudi Supreme Court's decision on his reconsideration request against the Court of Appeal's decision upholding a 15-year prison sentence for his peaceful online activities. His family has been prevented from visiting him in prison in Saudi Arabia.

On 30 December 2021, the Appeal Court of Najran Region issued its ruling, upholding the initial sentence of 15-years’ imprisonment against him, issued by the Criminal Court. The verdict confirmed all the charges for which he was convicted.

On 26 October 2021, the Criminal Court in Najran issued a punitive verdict against Abu Lahoum, sentencing him to ten years in prison after convicting him of apostasy and atheism, and another five years in prison for publishing his writings on social media networks that "would prejudice public order, religious values ​​and morals", as stated in the court’s verdict.

In addition, reliable local sources confirmed that the relevant authorities had rejected the family's request to visit him. On 27 December 2021, the family submitted a request for a family visit to the Najran Region Prison Administration, which transferred it to the General Directorate of Prisons in the capital, Riyadh, which in turn rejected the request.

For more information on the case, see: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2917

Once again, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) strongly condemns the verdict issued against journalist Ali Mohsen Ahmed Abu Lahoum at his mock trial, which failed to follow international standards of due process, and calls for his immediate release and the dropping of all fabricated charges brought against him. The charges violate his right to freedom of expression.

According to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), preventing the family from visiting him in prison is a flagrant violation of the provision of Rule (58), paragraph (b), which calls for regular family visits. GCHR calls for his family to be allowed to visit him on a regular basis.