Saudi Arabia: Arbitrary detention of Mohammad Al-Oteibi for peaceful protest
Mr. Mohamed Abdullah Al-Oteibi was born in 1971 and lives in Riyadh. He is an activist for human rights and has often publicly denounced the conditions of detention of political prisoners in the country.
He is also one of the signatories to a petition by "reformers" calling for peaceful means for political reform in the Kingdom, including the need to establish a parliamentary monarchy and the need for the separation of executive, legislative and judicial institutions.
He was arrested at the same time as many others, including Mr Al-Omeir whose case was submitted to the Working Group on 19 January 2009, following an attempt at peaceful demonstration organized by human rights activists in Riyadh on 1 January 2009 in protest of the attack on Gaza by the Israeli army.
Mr Al-Oteibi's arrest on 2 January 2009 was only after the official religious authorities had described the demonstrations as a peaceful protest against the principles of Islam, thus giving a religious warning to repress the protest even though it was peacefully.
It is therefore in the interest of the authorities to suppress any opinion or any event interpreted as contrary to the official standpoint of the authorities.
Mr. Al-Oteibi was detained more than two months in solitary confinement, in total isolation and without any possibility of contact with the outside world, before being transferred to a common room in order to receive a family visit. He is still denied legal assistance.
Only after six months of detention was he finally presented to the prosecutor general who said that he was not subject to criminal prosecution and that he had ordered his release.
The Ministry of Interior opposed the decision for his release, as well as that of others arrested under the same circumstances. He remains detained without any legal basis, despite a decision by the authorities.
Mr Al-Oteibi's detention is without legal procedure for exercising his right to publicly express and peacefully reflect a political opinion and is therefore arbitrary.
This detention is a violation of both the internal laws of the country and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We recall that Saudi Arabia is a member of the Council on Human Rights until 2012. The Universal Period Review is a mechanism for assessing compliance with the obligations of human rights of States, which took place in Saudi Arabia on 6 February 2009.
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