Amnesty International, claiming to have received credible reports, is calling on the Saudi Arabia government to end the ill-treatment, solitary confinement and tightened security around human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Waleed Abu al-Khair. It also urged authorities to ensure he is protected from torture and other ill-treatments.
Abu al-Khair was placed in solitary confinement in Dhahban Prison near Jeddah on November 26 and for the past week has been held incommunicado. He has been on hunger strike since November 29 in protest against his ill-treatment.
Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:”We call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to ensure that Waleed Abu al-Khair is protected from torture or other ill-treatment.”
“They must allow him to contact his lawyer and family and provide him with access to medical care he may require without delay. We continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Waleed Abu al-Khair and all other prisoners of conscience currently behind bars in Saudi prisons,” said Maalouf.
Waleed Abu al-Khair is a lawyer and human rights defender who has defended numerous victims of human rights violations, as well as other human rights defenders.
He was the lawyer of Raif Badawi, a well-known Saudi Arabian blogger who was sentenced in July 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes.
Abu al-Khair was sentenced in 2014 to 15 years in prison, followed by a 15-year travel ban and a fine of approximately US $53,000 on charges which include “disobeying the ruler and seeking to remove his legitimacy”, “insulting the judiciary and questioning the integrity of judges”, “setting up an unlicensed organization”, “harming the reputation of the state by communicating with international organizations” and “preparing, storing and sending information that harms public order”. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)