Saud al-Hashimi

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Saud al-Hashimi
Born c. 1963
Nationality Saudi Arabian
Occupation human rights activist
Known for 2007 imprisonment

Saud al-Hashimi (Arabic: سعود الهاشمي‎, born c. 1963)[1] is a Saudi Arabian human rights activist. In 2011, he was tried and found guilty by the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including "disobeying Saudi Arabia’s king, forming an organization opposing the state, questioning the independence of the judiciary, money laundering and 'supporting terrorism'", and in November was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment and a fine of 2 million riyals (US$534,000).[1] Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience, jailed for "peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association",[1] and several other international human rights groups campaigned for his release.

Arrest and trial[edit]

Al-Hashimi was arrested in Jeddah in February 2007 along with eight other critics of the Saudi Arabian government (Musa al-Qirni, Suliaman al-Rashudi, Abdul Rahman Khan, Essam Basrawi, Saif al-Din al-Sharif, Fahd al-Qurshi, Abdul Rahman al-Shumayri) and who planned to form a political party[2] or human rights organization.[3] The men were detained without charge until August 2010.[3] Interior Minister Mansur al-Turki stated that the men were being detained as supporters of terrorism.[4]

During his pre-trial detention, al-Hashimi went on hunger strike for a week, which reportedly caused his guards to strip him down to his underwear and leave him in a cold cell for several hours.[1] He was then forced to confess to "contacting Al-Jazeera television station and to collecting money without the permission of the ruler".[5] According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), he was also tortured with electric shocks in November 2010.[4]

The nine were brought to trial in the Specialized Criminal Court in 2011. Their lawyers were initially denied information on the charges against the men, and the court's sessions were closed to media and observers, leading Amnesty International to criticize the proceedings as "grossly unfair".[3] Al-Hashimi found guilty by the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including "disobeying Saudi Arabia’s king, forming an organization opposing the state, questioning the independence of the judiciary, money laundering and 'supporting terrorism'", and in November was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment and a fine of 2 million riyals (US$534,000).[1]

Imprisonment[edit]

During al-Hashimi's imprisonment, several international human rights groups campaigned on his behalf. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that his detention was arbitrary and illegal.[4] Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience and stated that al-Hashimi had been jailed for "peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association".[1] The International Federation for Human Rights and World Organisation Against Torture issued a joint statement calling for "urgent intervention" into the case, including the immediate and unconditional release of al-Hashimi.[6] Human Rights Watch criticized the Saudi Arabian government for keeping al-Hashimi as a "political prisoner", stating that "recycling political prisoners won't appease demands for democratic change".[2] The Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK described al-Hashimi and the other prisoners as "simply advocating peaceful reforms to the political system" and began a petition for their release.[7]

The IHRC reported that as of February 2012, al-Hashimi continued to be kept in solitary confinement following his conviction.[4] In October 2012, Amnesty International reported that al-Hashimi's mother was seriously ill and believed herself to be dying; the organization issued an appeal that he be allowed to visit her at the hospital.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Saudi Arabia urged to allow prisoner of conscience to visit ill mother" (PDF). Amnesty International. 19 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia: Political Prisoners Released, New Ones Arrested". Human Rights Watch. 23 February 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Saudi Arabia: Lengthy sentences for reformists a worrying development". Amnesty International. 23 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Action Alert: Saudi Arabia – Demand the release of reformist Dr. Al-Hashimi from his illegal imprisonment". Islamic Human Rights Commission. 7 February 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Saudi Arabia" (PDF). US Department of State. p. 3. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Incommunicado detention / Fear of ill-treatment - SAU 001 / 0207 / OBS 015". International Federation for Human Rights. 7 February 2007. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Petition to Release Dr Saud Al Hashimi & Colleagues". Muslim Public Affairs Council UK. 10 May 2007. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.