Mohammed Husayn Ali Al Khadrawi and Mahmoud Ali Al Bashir Rajb, two officials of the Libyan Ministry of Interior of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) were arrested on 25 June 2017 at the Jeddah Airport by Saudi security forces. During the following days, at least twenty other Libyan citizens, known for having participated in the revolution against the Gaddafi regime were subjected to the same fate. The men were arrested while they were returning home after having performed the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. The relatives of the two men tried to inquire about their fate and whereabouts but to no avail, as the Saudi authorities have been denying their detention. To date, the GNA did not react officially to these arrests.
On 25 June 2017 at 3 pm, Al Khadrawi and Rajb were waiting in Jeddah Airport's departure hall for their flight to Tripoli when they were arrested by members of State Security, who were wearing military uniforms. They were then both taken to an unknown location and remain disappeared since. Despite numerous requests from their families, the Saudi authorities are not even acknowledging their detention.
“These abductions are extremely concerning, and put them at risk of mistreatment in the hands of Saudi authorities, said Rachid Mesli, Legal Director of the Alkarama Foundation. “As the arrests seem to be politically motivated, it sends a chilling message to all Muslims, that they cannot safely perform their pilgrimages to Mecca anymore if they are deemed to hold certain political views. This constitutes an alarming precedent as Muslims have so far been able to perform their pilgrimage regardless of their political affiliations,” he concluded.
The cases of Mohammed Husayn Ali Al Khadrawi and Mahmoud Ali Al Bashir Rajb were submitted to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) on 30 June 2017; requests were made with the experts to promptly intervene with the Saudi authorities urging them to immediately inform the families of the fates and whereabouts of their relatives as well as to ensure their security and prompt release.
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