Saudi Arabia: Incommunicado detention and torture of Mr Khaled Suleyman Al Omeir

Alkarama for Human Rights submitted, on 16 January 2009 an urgent appeal to the Special Rapporteur on Torture, asking him to intervene in the case of Mr Khaled Suleyman Al Omeir, arrested on 1 January 2009 and detained incommunicado since.

Mr Khaled Suleyman Al Omeir is 39 years old and is a key figure in the ‘reformers' movement, which calls for political reforms, via peaceful means, in the Kingdom.

He was arrested in Riyad on 1 January 2009 around midnight by the intelligence services (Al Mabahit) during an attempted peaceful protest organized by human rights defenders to protest against the bombing of the civil population by the Israeli Army in Gaza.

He is currently being detained incommunicado at the Al Hayr prison without any contact with the outside world, with the authorities refusing to give any information to his family as to his fate and his current situation.

He was already arrested a first time on 25 April 2005 and detained incommunicado for six months at the Al Alicha prison where he suffered ill-treatment. He was released without ever having undergone any legal procedure. This first arrest came just after an interview he had given to the Arab television channel Al-Jazeera during which he had expressed his point of view with regard to the political situation in the region.

Mr Al Omeir's arrest on 1 January is part of the desire to suppress any opinion in disagreement with the authorities or any protest peacefully expressing a position interpreted as contrary to the authorities of Saudi Arabia.

Mr Al Omeir's family has recently received consistent and credible information according to which his current conditions of detention are particularly inhumane and degrading and that he has been tortured.

Because of this situation, Alkarama requests the Special Rapporteur make an urgent intervention so that Mr Al Omeir be released and that in any case, he be treated humanely, placed under the protection of the law and that a lawyer as well as his family be allowed to visit him.

This appeal has also been submitted to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

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