The government of Saudi Arabia, represented by the Ministry of the Interior, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, is committing serious violations of international laws during raids carried out by armored vehicles. The organization has documented some of them in the past, including a raid on 20 December 2014 executing extrajudicial Killing of five citizens, including a minor, beside carrying out other raids in November 2016. March 2017 witnessed intensive military presence in Qatif and Awamiya, resulting in numerous raids and assassination attempts, amid residential neighborhoods. According to the government, this is in pursuit of wanted persons and part of counter-terrorism campaigns .
On 9 March, unknown civilian vehicles killed Mustafa Madad while he was driving in a street known by demonstrators since 2011 as ‘Revolution Street’ (officially named King Abdulaziz Street) in the Qatif province. On March 10, the security spokesman of the Ministry of Interior said that the “wanted person” Mustafa Al-Madad was killed by security forces after being confronted and failing to comply with the orders of security forces. On numerous occasions, it has been noted that the Saudi government fails to take any measures to protect the lives of those targeted, and in many cases it directly carries out deadly attacks deliberately.
On March 11, 2017, the Saudi government carried out a raid with a noticeable escalation in the level of violence it has employed, compared with dozens of previous raids. After the raid, the remains of a unknown weapon were noticed that our organization has never documented before. It is thought that this weapon has caused destruction to a wall of a house in the traditional Mosawara neighborhood. In a next-door neighborhood, during the same raid, which lasted about half an hour between 10 -10:30 am, one of the armored vehicles guarding the entrances during the raid fired at Waleed Talal Alorayed as he glanced at the street in front of the door of their house, where two bullets were shot with one shooting his head.
According to some available information, Alorayed is likely to be a minor. The Saudi government has been holding his body since March 11, 2017, which may never be handed over to his family, despite their request. The Interior Ministry announced after the raid that Alorayed was wanted. However, the sources confirmed that Alorayed was living his life normally, and he regularly went from his town of Awamiyah to his school in the city of Safwa, after passing twice a day through a security check point, and was never called into police or investigation directorate and has never a judicial ruling issued against him.
A number of casualties, including at least 20 cars caused by random bullets, as well as random shooting causing injuries in the buildings nearby the location of the raid which resulted in the victims being unable to obtain compensation. This is due to the lack of an independent judiciary and the fear of being subjected to arrest or retaliation in case they claim compensation.
In another raid on March 28, 2017, Saudi Arabia raided the farm of the detainee Hussein Al-Faraj in the Ramis farming area without any legal authorization. According to the local sources of our organization, the heavily armed forces arbitrarily arrested Jaafar Alfaraj and Wasfi Algarros from the farm in spite of not priorly having them called into police station or investigation directorate and not having a judicial ruling issued against them. As the security forces were leaving the farm, they opened fire nearby, toward a car thereby killing the two citizens, Mohammed Tahir al-Nimr and Muqdad Muhammad al-Nimr.
The two-and-a-half-hour raid, during which the government fired indiscriminately at the entire area, resulted in physical damage to several farms and some seven vehicles. Victims also had no judicial remedy or compensation. One of the farmers has documented, while hiding, the moments of gunf ire e shooting a video (attached).
On March 29, the Ministry of Interior Spokesperson stated the details of the raid, saying that during the raid, security forces were “being targeted by fire from a neighboring farm.” The raid resulted in: “First: the killing of those who fired at the security forces: 1- Mohammad Taher Al-Nimr. 2- Muqdad Mohamed Al-Nimer.
Second: The arrest of: 1-Abdulrahman Fadel Al-Abdulal 2-Mohammed Jaafar Al – Abdlal. 3-Jafar Mohammed Al-Faraj. 4-Wasfi Ali Alqarros.
The Ministry of the Interior described both the dead and detainees as “Saudis who have a criminal history and involved in terrorist acts and criminal attacks.”
The Saudi government lethal acts against the two young men, Muqdad al-Nimer and Muhammad Taher al-Nimr, is extrajudicial killing, as usually happens in similar raids, even if they were unarmed person or was just passing by.
In some of the previous raids, they even arrested living persons and executed them after the arrest.
As for the detainees, sources did not have any information confirming that any of those arrested were wanted unlike what the official spokesman of the Ministry of Interior said. Some sources have confirmed to our organization that Jafar Muhammad al-Faraj, who was arrested during the raid, was practicing his life in a normal manner in Qatif, and showing his ID card to security forces at check points. Besides, on 20 March 2017, only eight days before the raid, he visited Qatif Court to issue a legal document which the organization maintains a copy of. Wasfi Algarros, on the other hand, is a regular employee in one of the military sectors in Dammam.
The sources also confirmed that the two youths Abdulal, who were arrested by the forces while leaving Ramis farming area, were practicing their lives normally, and were not wanted. Mohammed Jafar Abdulal regularly went from his hometown of Awamiyya to his school in Safwi city after passing two times a day through a security check point between the two cities. As for, Abdul Rahman Abdulal studies in India and just arrived recently from there to visit his family during his school leave.
The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights believes that Saudi Arabia is committing grave violations under the pretext of prosecuting wanted persons and combating terrorism. Consequently, the families of the victims can not resort to any fair legal remedies. There is great fear of seeking a legal remedy as the response will be the prevailing behavior coming from the increasing repression of the government. The government has also gone very far into issuing false accusation on the victims of its excessive violence. The victims include those killed and detained as wanted or terrorists, accused to justify the government grave violations and intimidation of citizens.
The organization is very concerned about the adopted policies and measures, especially with the existence of multiple indicators of its persistence in excessive violence and armed force, which are likely to increase the number of victims and violate human rights in Saudi Arabia.
The organization also calls on the Saudi government to stop arresting and detaining the dead bodies and urges authorities to hand them over to their families. The organization is deeply concerned with the likelihood of detainees being subjected to severe torture and degrading treatment.