Skyline urgently appeals to the International Community to stop arbitrary arrests of activists and preachers by Saudi Authorities
Madrid - Skyline International is urgently appealing to the international community to intervene and put pressure on Saudi Arabian authorities to stop arbitrary detention that has escalated for years against activists, media professionals and advocates. It also calls international parties to hold their legal and moral responsibilities towards the dozens of people in those prisons.
In its statement issued today, Tuesday, Skyline states that it is seriously following the growing arrests by Saudi authorities, the most recent of which was the arrest of the well-known preacher in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Aisha Al-Muhajiri, 65 years old, after security personnel raided her home. She was taken to Dhahban Political Prison in Jeddah due to her advocacy activities.
Skyline states that the prisoners of conscience account for the rights of detained activists and preachers in that said that security forces arrested the well-known preacher" Al-Muhajiri" and other two women, one of whom was over 80s, without providing further details about the incident.
In the same context, the account confirmed the 8-year imprisonment sentence issued against the Saudi journalist, Osama Al-Sahli by the Saudi authorities. Al-Sahli is a former writer for Al-Bilad newspaper. He was arrested in January 2019 for his previous tweets.
Skyline confirms that the review made by its technical team for "Al Sahli" account and his tweets on "Twitter" did not show any legal violations or incitement of the authorities. It stresses that the content he published is in accordance with freedom of opinion guaranteed by both Saudi and international law. Skyline mentioned some of Al-Sahli's tweets, including “Are there no wise man in the Ministry of Finance and the Saudi Credit Bank? At first glance, you realize that the conditions are impossible, as if those who enact them want to incite the citizen to the system… so expect for a system that is incapable for the citizen." He had another tweet saying "the scalpel remains sharp and the citizen is a victim." He further tweeted, "whenever the Shura becomes as a parliament? we have to breathe a sigh of relief and dream again"
Accordingly, Skyline points out that the previous arrests are not the first of their kind, as the Saudi authorities use intimidation and arrest policies for anyone expressing his opinion on social media. It confirms that the authorities have arrested dozens of people including, advocates, activists and journalists because of their online posts criticizing the living and political conditions in the Kingdom. In addition. Skyline emphasizes that it does not have accurate figures about the numbers of these people due to the blocking policy the authorities use when they deal with the file of political detainees.
Moreover, Skyline states that the arrests also include athletes, as the Saudi authorities arrested former player, "Fahd Al-Harifi", due to a post criticizing the Coronavirus measures taken by the Saudi authorities. Those authorities also arrested the elderly poet, Ayed Raghyan Al-Warda, in 2019, for a poetic post in which he criticized the General Entertainment Authority. In 2017, the Saudi authorities arrested the well-known preacher, “Salman Al-Awda,” because of a tweet about the Gulf crisis at that time, where he tweeted, “Oh Allah, reconcile (with love and understanding) between our hearts, and resolve our (broken affairs), guide us toward peace and paths of guidance. And take us out of the darkness to the brightest". The Saudi authorities interpreted the tweet as objection to the decision taken by Saudi Arabia at the time against Qatar. His brother, Khaled, was also arrested because of a tweet criticizing the arrest.
Skyline affirms that the repeated arrests carried out by the Saudi authorities contradict the laws in force in the Kingdom, especially the provision of Article 8 of the Publications Law, which stipulates that "freedom of expression and opinion is guaranteed by various means of publication within the scope of legal and regulatory provisions." Also, Article 2 of the electronic publishing regulation issued by the Saudi Ministry of Information provides that “supporting the culture of dialogue and diversity, and perpetuating the culture of human rights, represented by freedom of expression guaranteed to all in accordance with the provisions of the system.” Also, such practices and arrests violate a set of international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Accordingly, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration stipulates everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers. either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice"
At the end of its statement, Skyline calls on the Saudi authorities to urgently halt arbitrary detention and release all political detainees and prisoners of conscience. It also stresses the need for the international community, led by the United Nations and its committees, to send monitoring and fact-finding committees to determine the violations committed against individuals in detention centers and to pressure on the Saudi authorities to conclusively close the file of political