OHCHR concerned over Saudi activist Mohammed Qahtani
The United Nations are concerned over a Saudi human rights activist who is reportedly suffering systemic abuse within the Saudi prison system.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, said Wednesday that Saudi human rights advocate Mohammed Al-Qahtani was going through a concerning situation in light of information coming out that he is being kept in isolation from the outside world without any of his relatives knowing anything about him.
Lawlor said in a statement that Al-Qahtani's family last contacted him on October 23 after filing a complaint that other inmates assaulted him.
The special rapporteur called on the competent authorities in Saudi Arabia to inform his family of where Al-Qahtani was and his current health situation and allow him to contact his family and lawyers.
Al-Qahtani is a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, which was dissolved by Riyadh in 2013. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison under the pretense of "giving false information to foreign sources, including the human rights mechanisms" of Saudi Arabia.
Al-Qahtani has protested the mistreatment he endured during his detention in Al-Ha'ir Prison in Riyadh several times. He has been complaining about other inmates assaulting him since this last May as the Saudi administration refuses to transfer him to another prison.
Saudi opposition activist, Abdul Hakim bin Abdul Aziz, revealed Tuesday that the Saudi authorities had arrested his son, Yasser, from his university, as part of the Kingdom's aggressive crackdown against activists that criticize the performance of the ruling regime on social media.
The Saudi opposition activist pointed out that the only justification for the Saudi authorities arresting his son is to blackmail him, stressing that this step will only increase his determination to perform his duty.
At the beginning of this month, the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights revealed that the Saudi authorities had sentenced 15 prisoners of conscience to death, bringing the number of people at risk of death to 53, including at least eight minors.
In the same context, the Saudi Court of Appeal extended in October the sentence of Tunisian national Mahdia Al-Marzouki, from two years and eight months to 15 years, on charges of interacting with a tweet.
Similarly, the Saudi authorities sentenced an American citizen to 16 years in prison for criticizing the Saudi regime in a tweet.
Muslim academics have been executed, and women's rights activists have been imprisoned and tortured. All the while, the #Saudi authorities continue to deny freedom of expression. pic.twitter.com/e4NiQ6GshR— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) October 24, 2022
In late August, a specialized criminal court allegedly found Saudi Arabian woman, Nourah bint Saeed Al-Qahtani, guilty of "using the internet to tear [Saudi Arabia's] social fabric" and sentenced her to 45 years in prison as a result, according to documents obtained and examined by Democracy for the Arab World Now.
The court also sentenced Saudi university student Salma Al-Shehab to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on her personal Twitter account.