Saudi Arabia: Cleric Held 4 Months Without Charge

Saudi Arabia: Cleric Held 4 Months Without Charge
Tue Jan 9, 2018 09:31:29

Saudi authorities have held a prominent cleric for four months without charging or questioning him, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities detained the cleric, Salman al-Awda, on September 7, 2017, and later imposed arbitrary travel bans on members of al-Awda’s immediate family.

Human Rights Watch--  Al-Awda was among the first of dozens of people detained in mid-September. On September 12, Saudi authorities confirmed a crackdown against those acting “for the benefit of foreign parties against the security of the kingdom and its interests.” Saudi authorities carried out another wave of arrests in early November against people they accused of corruption and held many, arbitrarily, at five-star hotels until they agreed to turn over assets to the state.

“Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s efforts to reform the Saudi economy and society are bound to fail if his justice system scorns the rule of law by ordering arbitrary arrests and punishments,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “There’s no justification for punishing family members of a detainee without showing even the slightest evidence or accusation of wrongdoing on their part.”

A family member said that two men who identified themselves as State Security arrived at 6 p.m. on September 7, ignored requests to show a warrant, searched the house, and detained al-Awda.

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