Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) is appalled to receive news of the harsh judgement of a Saudi court against 10 Egyptian Nubian men and demands that the international community – including Saudi’s key backers in the West – put pressure on the Riad regime to reverse the decision.
On Monday 10 October, the Kingdom’s Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) applied the so-called Counter-Terrorism Law and sentenced the 10 men to between 10 and 18 years in prison. The men, all Egyptian Nubians, were charged with crimes including “establishing an association without a license”, after they organised a day of remembrance for the 1973 Arab Israeli war in October 2019.
The men are: Adel Ibrahim Faqir, Dr. Farjallah Ahmed Youssef, Jamal Abdullah Masri, Mohamed Fathallah Gomaa, Sayyed Hashem Shater, Ali Gomaa Ali Bahr, Saleh Gomaa Ahmed, Abdulsalam Gomaa Ali Bahr, Abdullah Gomaa Ali and Wael Ahmed Hassan Ishaq. All of them are members of peaceful, non-political Nubian community groups. Three of them are over 60 years old, it has been reported.
All of the men were arrested on 25 October 2019, though were shortly released with travel bans. However, in July 2020 they were all forcibly detained, meaning that for two months they were denied contact with their relatives. More than a year after, on 10 November 2021, at their first hearing before the SCC, they were able to meet their lawyers.
Monday’s judgement, therefore, comes after a litany of police and judicial abuses – and indeed outright denials – of the men’s basic rights, and therefore the judgement is itself unlawful. It should be noted that such denials of people’s rights are typical for the Saudi regime: AOHR UK has highlighted the numerous legal cases of abuse that critics and dissenters have suffered in the country over the last period.
AOHR UK hereby joins the calls from around the world for the men to be released immediately and without charge, and further demands that Saudi’s chief international backers put pressure on the regime in Riad to desist from such blatantly politicised and abusive trials.
All people have the right to create civil organisations, commemorate historical events, and to a fair trial.