The Saudi authorities continue to arbitrarily detain Abdullah Yahya al-Ghazwi, three and half years after he was first detained merely for expressing his opinion.
Saudi security forces arrested al-Ghazwi in May 2019 following a raid on his family home in Qatif, in the east of the country. He was arrested without any legal explanation.
Al-Ghazwi continues to suffer very harsh conditions of detention, including the denial of any communication with his family or lawyer.
Saudi authorities continue to impose a blackout on reporting of conditions of most political detainees. However, numerous leaks suggest they are suffering very poor conditions and treatment, including the use of torture.
Recently, a prominent UN official accused the Saudi authorities of continuing to violate human rights, and specifically of using the struggle against terrorism as a pretext for the use of arbitrary detention and the denial of freedoms of speech and assembly.
The criticism, from Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, was included in a report published as the 49th session of the Human Rights Council opened.
Hundreds of human rights activists, religious figures, and academics continue to suffer arbitrary detention in the Kingdom, often on charges such as “terrorism and conspiracy against the state”, despite ongoing calls by international human rights organisations and global public figures for their release.
The Saudi legal system is widely recognised to often fail to meet even the basic standards of legal fairness.