Cairo, 16 September 2011
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the ongoing harassments by the Saudi authorities against the human rights activist Waleed Aboul-Khair, Director of the Human Rights Observatory in Saudi Arabia, for his demands for reform and defense of human rights in the Kingdom.
Aboul-Khair was summoned on Sunday, 11 September, for a hearing on several charges, among of which: “his views and insulting the judiciary”, “his refusal to imprisonment of citizens in prison without trial”, “demanding a constitutional Kingdom”, and “participating in media channels to mar the reputation of the country”.
It is strange that when Aboul-Khair tried to get a copy of the papers of his case and asked the court to schedule the next hearing after the end of the first trial which was held last Sunday, the court refused to permit him to have the indictment and told him that he would be contacted and informed of the date of the next hearing, which shows the lack of seriousness in the trials and the negligence of standards and conditions of a fair trial in Saudi Arabia!!
Waleed Aboul-Khair is a Saudi lawyer and Internet activist, who is also the coordinator of a team of lawyers to defend freedom issues. Aboul-Khair is suffering from many harassments by the authorities for his activities, that he previously filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior for violating the law and putting the reformist Abdul-Rahman Al-Shamiri in prison for about two years and a half without a trial. Moreover, Aboul-Khair had previously received many death threats and harassments by the authorities which blocked his website and refused to permit him a license for establishing an NGO for Human Rights observatory.
ANHRI pointed out that the trial of Aboul-Khair is for his defense of human rights and demand of a constitution in the country comes at a time when the Saudi authorities are calling their Syrian counterparts to implement quick and comprehensive reforms, declaring that it would not accept the killing and suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Syria.
“The Saudi government is hostile to freedoms and confiscates the right of its citizens to demonstrate and to peaceful expression of opinion, in addition to having already participated in the suppression of peaceful protests in Bahrain. Before calling the Syrian dictator to implement reforms, it was better suited for Saudi Arabia to stop the ongoing attacks on freedoms and to respond to the demands of activists to change and reform, rather than harassing them and bring them to trial for their views.” said ANHRI.
ANHRI also called the international community, the Arab world and all those concerned with freedom of expression to take positive actions to denounce the repression and the ongoing attacks against human rights by the Saudi authorities and to pressure them to end the trial of the activist Waleedd Aboul-Khair or, for the least and in the worst case scenario, to assure a fair trial for him, allow him to see the file of his case, and to protect his right to defense.