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Saudi Arabia: The Working Group of the United Nations describes the detention of Abdel Rahman Samara as arbitrary.

Alkarama was informed of opinion 31/2008 issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in  November 2008, which described the detention of Abdel Rahman Samara as arbitrary. This young man, aged 23 at the time of his arrest, is still being detained without having been tried or convicted.

On the 8 May 2008, Alkarama submitted the case (see communiqué) of  Abdel Rahman Samara to the Working Group. On the 17 July 2007, the Saudi intelligence services (Al-Mabahit Al-Aama) arrested the young man, a Palestinian living in Saudi Arabia, at his commercial property in Riyadh. His home was searched without a warrant.

Mr. Samara was detained incommunicado for a month and then transferred to Alisha prison for five and a half months before being imprisoned in Al-Hayr.

In response to questions from the Working Group, the Saudi authorities replied that a Jordanian of the same name was arrested on 18 July 2008 for having visited Afghanistan, where he allegedly took part in military training. The latter has yet to be brought to justice.

The Working Group's statement confirmed that it is indeed the same person, namely Mr. Samara. It noted that when he returned from Afghanistan after spending several months there in 2000, he was questioned by Saudi authorities, but they did not imprison him at that time.

The UN body also noted that he was arrested seven years later without a warrant and without being informed of the reasons for this arrest. He was then held incommunicado, without access to a lawyer and without being brought to justice. This constitutes a violation of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Moreover, the fact that the Saudi state is not able, after 16 months of detention, to determine whether legal proceedings will be initiated against Mr. Samara is a violation of Article 10 of said Declaration.

The Working Group concludes that it is an arbitrary detention and urges the Saudi authorities to remedy this situation and bring it into conformity with the norms and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It also advises Saudi Arabia to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.