Arresting Preacher for Criticizing the Saudi Authority is a Violation of Freedom of Expression 

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اعتقال السلطات السعودية لداعية بسبب مقطع فيديو ينتقد فيه هيئة الترفيه استمرار لنهج قمع حرية التعبير

MADRID: Skyline International condemns Saudi authorities’ arrest of Sheikh Omar al-Muqbel, a professor of Islamic Law at Qassim University, in regard to a recently published clip of him talking about his opinion on the work of the official entertainment authority. 

During a lecture he held a few days ago, Al-Muqbel criticized the Saudi entertainment authority and its activities in Saudi Arabia stating that such activities detract the society from its identity.

Skyline International states that the arrest of Omar Al-Muqbel is a continuation of arbitrary arrests carried out by the Saudi authorities against its dissidents, as well as being a violation of international norms and conventions.

The year 2018 was bad on the side of public freedoms in Saudi Arabia, where it witnessed killings, enforced disappearances, secret trials as well as cases of untreated detainees which resulted in death, refusal to allow families to visit them, or even being aware of the places of their detention.

 In 2017, Saudi Arabia began a campaign of arrests targeting prominent academic and religious names, including Salman al-Awda, Nasser al-Omar, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omari. In addition to the arrest of poets and intellectual only for opposing the ruling authority.

The Saudi authorities didn’t disclose the number of detainees held on the basis of freedom of opinion in their prisons. Furthermore, they do not allow human rights institutions to visit detainees or to perceive their conditions; this raises doubts about arrests by the authority.

 Freedom of Expression in Saudi Arabia

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirm that everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference as well as the right to express them by various means.

Skyline International states that Kingdom’s attempts to promote itself as a democratic state, which is open to development and international cooperation, are crumbling with the continuous repression of freedoms and arrest of opponents.

 The organization calls upon the international community and the countries supporting the Saudi government, in particular, to consider the importance of Saudi Arabia’s suppression of freedom of opinion, which is the safety key for other freedoms.

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