Saudi Arabia: Opinion on the arbitrary detention of Mr. Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid

Alkarama for Human Rights, 25 June 2007

Alkarama for Human Rights has just learned that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion on 8 May 2007 about the detention of Mr. Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid.  It judges it to constitute arbitrary detention and demands that the Saudi government remedy this situation.

Alkarama for Human Rights had submitted the case of Mr. Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid, detained at the El Alisha prison in Riyadh, to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 23 September 2006.

Mr. Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid was born at Al Jawf on 2 October 1984; he is a balechor studying at the Faculty of Management at Ibn Saud University in Riyadh.

He was arrested on 12 October 2005 at 5:30 PM in Riyadh by intelligence agents without any warrant being presented and without being told any explanation for the arrest.

He was taken away from his home in Hayy An Nakhil in Riyadh, which was searched without any warrant.  His computer media and his personal library were seized.  The intelligence services afterwards went to the home of his family in Al Jawf, 700 kilometres from Riyadh, which was also searched without warrant, and the computer media along with many literary and religious works were confiscated despite his parents’ protests.

Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid was then driven to an unknown location and secretly detained in total isolation for two months without his parents getting to hear a single thing about him.

When, two months later, the family learned that he had been detained in the Al Alisha intelligence services’ detention centre, they went to visit him and noticed that he had gotten very thin.  They also concluded that he had been subjected to torture and mistreatment which he did not speak of in order not to worry them.

Afterwards, his relatives regularly went to visit him ever fifteen days at Al Alisha prison, until 28 June 2006; but each new visit since has been prevented by the authorities.

His family finally learned that he had been hospitalised following a hunger strike.  Despite all their efforts, they did not get the slightest bit of information on the state of his health.  Miss Hassa Hamdan Al Qaid appealed to all official authorities including the Minister of the Interior, who was content to tell her to “draw up a request for liberation and send it by fax.”

As for the facts ??? Mr. Al Qaid, it turned out during his interrogation by the information services that he had been arrested for “coming into contact with foreign organisations”, including the Arab Commission for Human Rights, and for “having communicated information to these organisations about the human rights situation and the situation of prisons through the Internet.”

Mr. Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid had in fact sent such information to our organisations, in particular regarding the arbitrary detention of Mr. Majeed Hamdan bin Rashed Al Qaid who had been the object of a communication to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 10 February 2005.

After this interrogation, Mr. Faiz bin Abdelmohsen Al Qaid was not brought before a judge to be formally arraigned for these facts, nor did he receive any notification of any legal procedure to be brought against him.

Faced with the impossibility of getting a lawyer in Saudi Arabia to help their son, his parents attempted to get a lawyer from Qatar, but he was not permitted to be his lawyer.  He has therefore had no access to any means of recourse to contest the legality of his detention; and one year after his arrest, he did not know whether he had been accused of anything, what the legal motives for his detention were, what the length of this detention would be and what fate awaited him.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention examined Mr. Al Qais’ case but received no response to their letter to the Saudi authorities.  It therefore considers him to be being kept in arbitrary detention, the more so given that no charges have been levied against him and that it seems that he was arrested for his political activities and for exercising his freedom of expression.

According to the Working Group, this arbitrary detention violates the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It demands that the government remedy this situation and also suggests that it should adhere to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Saudi Arabia is still not a party.