Report “Freedom in shackles” urges “effective measures” for respect human rights in Kingdom

Adala Center for Human Rights revealed documents on cases of torture against detainees who had participated in peaceful protests in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia.

A report that was issued by the Center indicated that the Saudi authorities have arrested more than six hundred people since the launch of protest marches about fourteen months ago. 149 people are still in detention on background of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

According to the report, Adala Center documented several claims of torture against detainees in the General Intelligence Prison in Dammam. These cases included beating, kicking, electric shocks in sensitive parts of the body, hitting with hoses and being forced to stand with hands up for long hours. The center said is concerned about the continuing of these torture allegations and has informed the Ministry of Interior about them.

The sixteen pages report called for putting an end for the General Intelligence’s oppression and violations to international, regional and national laws, and limiting its function into arresting and gathering evidences.

The report considered arresting peaceful protesters as a contradiction to Saudi Arabia’s obligation to human rights treaties. It mentioned some cases of maltreatment of detainees during all their time in detention without getting their right of fair trials as well as the lack of legal assistance during trials and failure to maintain their privacy.

Adala Center for Human Rights pointed out that it still actively continuing its effort with official agencies to get the permission for registration; however, the Ministry of Social Affairs has repeatedly refused to do so. Last month, the center filed a lawsuit in the Administrative Court against the Ministry of Social Affairs in order to abolish its decision of not approving the registration of the center.

The report documented cases of shootings by the security forces against the protesters in Qatif, leading to seven deaths and thirty-six wounded. It referred to the harassments against human rights defenders such as arbitrary detention and travel bans indicating the cases of the activists Fadhil AlManasif (Qatif) and Mohammad AlBajadi (Riyadh).

The report showed that the Ministry of Interior had issued travel ban for indefinite time against more than three hundred people of those released of detention for participating in protests in the Eastern Province. This, also, included several prominent public figures like Sheikh Salman AlOudah, the political activist Mohammad Saeed Tayeb, Dr. Walid AlMajed, the activist Waleed Sami Abu AlKhair and Dr.Mohammad Fahd AlQahtani.

As for religious freedom, the report referred to the demolishment of an Ismaili mosque in Thokba, Khobar in the Eastern Region. The decision of demolishing the mosque, which was built forty years ago, is considered as unjustified.

In the same context, the report called for “urgently” taking legal actions against the lawyer Sultan bin Zahim who insulted Shiites using his Twitter account. On the other hand, it praised the decision of the Saudi King to stop a Saudi satellite channel for a month and investigate with the responsible individuals of abusing the Ismaili sect’s followers.

In its report, the center provided a set of recommendations; some of which are requiring the government to approve the law of civil societies and institutions which was adopted by the Shoura Council, and to grant activists the freedom of working in human rights organizations.

Moreover, it recommended the Saudi government to keep its promise of joining the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It calls the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice to take “effective and proper measures” for applying and implementing the International and regional agreements which Saudi Arabia had ratified in the field of human rights.

The Center called for releasing all political reformists, human rights activists and prisoners of conscience, and providing them fair and public trials besides rehiring who had been fired from their jobs to get back to work normally. It, also, recommends carrying out “independent, unbiased and sufficient investigations as soon as possible” for the cases of shootings and murders in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and suing who had committed these acts.

The Report of Adala Center for Human Rights is considered one of the most detailed local reports on human rights conditions in Saudi Arabia.

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