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As Retaliation for His Refusal to Spy on Activists, Saudi Judicial System Sentenced to death the minor Dawood AlMarhoon

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Dawood Hussain Almarhoon

Dawood Hussain Almarhoon

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) is deeply concerned about the fate of the prisoner Dawood Hussain Almarhoon, detained in the General Investigation Directorate’s prison. He was arrested on 23/05/2012, was a minor at that time only 17 years old, and preliminary sentenced to death on 27/10/2014 in the eighth session of his trial. It lacked the principles of a fair trial, yet, the sentence is still valid until the publication date of this report.

Almarhoon was arrested from the street for the first time on 15/05/2012, where he was sent to the police station in Awamia city, then he was released on the same day in return to spy on activists. Due to his non-cooperation after the release, in retaliation, he was arrested again on 23/05/2012, which is eight days after  his first arrest. The arrest happened at 3:00 am at the Dammam Central Hospital, where he was scheduled to be transferred the Dhahran Eye Specialist Hospital for an eye surgery due to a traffic accident.

After the arbitrary arrest,  he was transferred to the Security Force Hospital, then a week later to the Dammam Social Observation Home or Juvenile Detention Center (dar al-mulahatha al-ijtima`iya) before the end of his medical treatment, regardless of continued pain in his eye. Then, he was detained in solitary confinement for a week and then began an investigation accompanied by torture as:

  1. Severe beatings with hands, feet and using (Agal[1]).
  2. Forced to lie on his stomach and then trampled by the torturers.
  3. Forced to face the wall and then hit mainly on the leg injured part, where he was shot there by the security forces live ammunition at demonstration on 14/01/2012.
  4. Verbal abuse, insulting the victim’s religious belief and family (his mother), and doubling the physical tortures if he refused any of these humiliating and degrading verbal abuse word.

Several investigators held sessions with him, especiallyon the first day, the investigation and torture continues for 18 hours from 6 pm to 12 pm on the next day.Almarhoon remained in the Social Observation Home for a year and four months, then he was transferred to the General Investigation Directorate in Dammam on 09/11/2013, detained in solitary confinement for a month the accompanied with interrogation and torture again:

  1. Electrocuted in different body parts.
  2. Hanging upside-down.
  3. Tied to a chair and then beaten.
  4. Verbal abuse, humiliating; degrading; insulting the victim’s religious belief.

Due to the torture in the Social Observation Home and the General Investigation Directorate, Almarhoon suffers ear pain that feels like air entering and exiting his ear while talking; rib cage pain caused by the injury of his right side three ribs; teeth pain accompanied with bleeding when eating/drinking warm or cold, blood in urine and poor psychological condition.

The first session of his trial began on 01/29/2014, more than 20 months since the arrest, which violates the Law of Criminal Procedure. It states that the trial does not exceed a maximum period of 6 months from the date of arrest. Almarhoon was prosecuted based on torture and forced confession’s charges, as: ( protest – making and use Molotov cocktails to throw at police; their vehicles and the police station – causing damage to the contents of a commercial pharmacy and steal some medicines and bandages to be used to treat the wounded – accompany a fugitive and trying to attack the police station – shooting the security men with others during protests- attempt to attack security’s cars – encouraging others to participate in the protests – observing the security car moves – involvement with another person of stealing a machine gun from a security car while it was burning – involvement with another person in the bombing of a gas cylinder – involvement with others in possession of ammunition and distribution – buying water and distributed to the protesters during the protest- meeting some fugitive).

Based on these tortured and forced confession’s charges, the public prosecution demanded death by using  Haraba[2] punishment. In the eighth session of the trial on 10/27/2014, Abdulaziz Al Jaber, the judge in the Specialized Criminal Court (SSC), sentenced Almarhoon to death (Tazir[3]).

The ESOHR sees that the court ruling is contrary to Article 15 of the Convention against Torture, which Saudi Arabia joined in 1997, it states: (Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings). Therefore, using such forced confession’s charges by the judge violates the law and justice. In addition, Saudi Arabia has to prosecute those responsible for torture, according to Convention against Torture.

Based on the paragraph “a” of Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, joined by Saudi Arabia in 1996, states: (No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age). The ESOHR urges on the Saudi government for an immediate and unconditional release of Dawood Hussain Almarhoon and drop the death sentence charge. Also, calls on the Saudi government to prosecute those responsible for torture’s cases in the Social Observation Home for and the General Investigation Directorate’s prison and complying with the Convention against Torture, especially with the forced confession cases, and allowing the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the (torture and other cruel, inhuman or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment) to urgently visit Saudi Arabia prisons and examine the allegations and complaints of torture.

[1]Wikipedia: The Agal (Arabic: عقال‎, ‘iqāl: “bond” or “rope”), also spelled iqal, egal or igal, is an accessory worn usually by Arab men. It is a black cord, worn doubled, used to keep the ghutrah in place on the wearer’s head.

[2]In Islamic law, “haraba”, a Qur’anic term defined as “sowing corruption and chaos on earth”, is considered one of the most grievous crimes, subject to severe punishment.

[3] Wikipedia: In Islamic Law, tazir (or ta’zir, Arabic تعزير) refers to punishment, usually corporal, decided at the discretion of the judge or ruler of the state.