On 23 January 2024, Alkarama adressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions about developments concerning the deceased Yemeni businessman, Abdulsamed Esmail Mohammed Salem (Al Mohammadi), about whom the Fourth Saudi Criminal Court in the Jazan region ordered the closure of the criminal proceedings acquitting him of all charges. He had been arrested by several police officers, had several sums of money confiscated from him before being tortured to death on 12 September 2021. 

Alkarama reiterated its request to the UN and called once again on the Saudi authorities to fulfil their obligations under the Convention against Torture, ratified by Saudi Arabia, and to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances of the victim's death and bring those responsible to justice. 

Al Mohammadi was a Yemeni businessman who had lived in Saudi Arabia for 25 years. His case was first submitted by Alkarama on 3 April 2023 to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions and the Special Rapporteur on Torture.


On September 9, 2021, at around 3:30 p.m., a security squad of 25 armed men affiliated with the counter-narcotics department, led by Lieutenant Hussein Jafari, raided Abdulsamed Esmail Mohammed Salem's restaurant in the Sabya neighborhood. According to several witnesses, Al Mohammadi, who was inside his restaurant, was severely beaten with kicks, fists and rifle butts. He was then forcibly taken to his home where he was also beaten in front of his wife and three children. 

Al Mohammadi's wife reported that Lieutenant Hussein Jafari, who accused her husband of holding money from drug trafficking, interrogated him about where their money was hidden, threatening to arrest and imprison his wife, two daughters and disabled son if he remained silent. The officers confiscated a large sum of money and jewelry from his wife and daughter. Mr. Salem's restaurant was closed for an extended period of time and all of his property was seized. 

According to the victim's family, officers did not produce a warrant before forcibly taking him to an unknown destination. Eight employees of the restaurant were also arrested before being released a few days later. Tortured to death while in detention Two days after his arrest, Al Mohammadi was allowed to make a brief phone call to his wife. She said that during the call her husband could barely speak. 

The next day, September 12, 2021, Al Mohammadi's wife received a phone call from the police who informed her of her husband's death and asked her to pick up the body at Abu Arish Hospital. However, the family refused to collect the body and requested a forensic report to identify the cause of his death. The authorities who refused the request informed them that the victim's body had been transported to his home town in Yemen where his funeral took place.

Death as a result of torture 

In its communication to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Alkarama highlighted the responsibility of the agents of the General Administration for Drug Control of Jazan in the death of the victim. 

According to the forensic report prepared at the request of the family, of which Alkarama obtained a copy, he was admitted to Abu Arish Hospital on 9 September 2021, the day after his arrest. Upon arrival, Mr. Salem had "scattered bruises", "accumulation of blood on the upper left limb and left side of the chest and abdomen" and "several rib fractures". According to the medical report, on the evening of September 12, 2021, Al Mohammadi, who had breathing difficulties, "died as a result of a pulmonary embolism."

Despite the evidence of a causal link between Al Mohammadi's death and the torture he suffered during his detention, the complaints filed by Mr. Salem's family with the Sabya Public Prosecutor's Office and the complaint filed by his lawyer with the Kingdom's Grievance Council remained pending.


Alkarama has recently learned that the Saudi Fourth Criminal Court of Jazan, which held several sessions to examine the case last October, acquitted the victim of the charges against him and demanded the return of all property that had been confiscated by the security services during the search of Al Mohammadi's home and restaurant on the basis of malicious accusations. 

At first glance, it appears that the Saudi security authorities tried to manipulate the case by making the death from torture look like a natural death. The wife had been informed that her husband had died as a result of a stroke. However, the forensic report drawn up following the autopsy confirmed that he had been subjected to violent torture, revealing fractures in 9 ribs. These fractures caused obstruction of the main pulmonary artery and were therefore the cause of his death.

Dozens of writers, lawyers, intellectuals, social figures and representatives of local and national organisations have announced the formation of a committee to plead on behalf of the Al Mohammadi family to demand justice, the return of property and an end to impunity for the perpetrators. However, the perpetrators are still at large and the leaders of the Saudi Interior Ministry refuse to refer the case to the public prosecutor's office so that it can order a criminal investigation into the perpetrators. 

Despite Al Mohammadi's acquittal, his family and relatives continue to call on the Yemeni authorities to approach the Saudi authorities to follow up the criminal case until justice is done and the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Impunity for perpetrators of torture 

Alkarama recalls that during the last periodic review of Saudi Arabia, the Committee against Torture expressed its deep concern "about the numerous reports brought to its attention that torture and other ill-treatment are routinely practised in prisons and detention centres in the State party". 

During previous reviews, the Committee had already asked the State party to ensure that the perpetrators of acts of torture were effectively and impartially investigated and prosecuted as soon as possible. However, seven years later, these recommendations have not been implemented and the authorities continue to refrain from prosecuting those responsible for acts of torture.

Concerned by the current impasse in Saudi Arabia, Alkarama has contacted the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to draw their attention to the situation. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is bound, in accordance with its international obligations under its ratification of the Convention against Torture, to carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the death of Al Mohammadi and to try and sentence his torturers in accordance with the gravity of their acts.