Saudi Arabia: Where is Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani?


Once again, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses its deep concern over the complete interruption of communication between human rights defender Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani and his family, and the authorities' refusal to disclose any reliable information confirming that he is fine.

On 13 November 2022, his wife, human rights defender Maha Al-Qahtani, tweeted on her Twitter account, "21 days have passed and my husband did not call and this interruption we did not get used to during his 10 years in prison!! What is happening at Al-Ha'ir Reformatory Prison in Riyadh? Why do they ignore our calls and inquiries?! Where is Dr. Mohammed Fahad Al-Qahtani?”

GCHR has previously documented the disappearance of Dr. Al-Qahtani since 24 October 2022, amid reliable local sources confirming that he was not seen in ward (8A) within Al-Ha’ir Reformatory Prison in Riyadh, where he is serving his sentence, which is due to end on 22 November 2022. For more details, see:

On 9 November 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor said she was concerned for the life of Dr. Al-Qahtani. She said she was "increasingly concerned for the health, and life" of Dr. Al-Qahtani following reports that his family had lost communication with him since October 23 "after filing a complaint about attacks on him by other inmates."

While welcoming the UN Special Rapporteur’s statement, GCHR calls on all relevant United Nations Special Rapporteurs and governments with influence in the Kingdom to take action to ensure that the Saudi authorities inform his family of his current whereabouts, and release him immediately and unconditionally.

The authorities should fully implement the United Nations Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) while he remains in prison. It also should guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals.