Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia: Arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defender Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi

13.04.14

On 8 April 2014 at approximately 2pm human rights defender Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi was arrested at his home during a raid by members of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID).

Seven members of the GID in plain clothes conducted a violent raid on his home. During the incident they abused his ten-year-old nephew who was in the residence. When Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi asked to see a search warrant the raiders refused and charged into his home. They searched the house and confiscated money, books and computers. They arrested him and brought him to the offices of the GID in the capital Riyadh where he remains in detention.

Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi is a human rights defender who has given his support to the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and provided assistance to the families of the detained members of the organisation.

Reports confirmed that his house has been raided previously. On 27 February 2013 security forces entered his home without a warrant and confiscated his mobile phone and books. He was forced to sign a declaration stating that he would not travel outside the area and that he would appear before the GID whenever requested to do so. He was called twice to the GID offices in Riyadh and was interrogated about his links with the ACPRA and those detained. 

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses serious concern at the arrest and detention of Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi and believes it is solely related to his peaceful human rights activities. It expresses further concern for his physical and psychological well being and that of his family, which consists of 11 members who all depend on him for their living.

The GCHR urges the authorities in Saudi Arabia to: 

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi;
  2. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Abdulaziz Al-Ghamdi while he remains in detention;
  3. 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 and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

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 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (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 necessary 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.”