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After 20 months of an unfair trial, the death penalty awaits Ali al-Nimr at any moment.

المنظمات وعلي النمر

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We, the undersigned Saudi organisations, wish to express our deep concern regarding Saudi Arabia’s unfair judicial proceeding pertaining to the death sentence issued to Ali Al-Nimr, who has been detained since February 14, 2012 and who is currently detained in Dammam prison of investigation. Ali Al-Nimr was violently arrested at the age of 17 years, in which he was run over by a car that belonged to the Saudi police while on his motorcycle. After which he arrested directly from the street despite multiple injuries including a broken nose, bruising and blood all over his body.
According to our close monitoring of the conduct of the trial of Al-Nimr (which lasted 20 months), we can report the following:

  • The trial began on December 17, 2013
  • The Initial death sentence was issued on the sixth session of the court hearing on 27th May 2014.
  • The initial death penalty sentence has now been ratified by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme high Court and the date which this took place on is unknown. However the High court sent the statement to the Interior Ministry for implementation, on the 17th August 2015 and the trial and appeals process is no closed.

We emphasize that this trial lacked both due process and the principles of a fair trial, both at the pre-trial, mid trial and post trial stage. Ali was deprived of the right to counsel at all stages of investigation and trial, and denied the right to a trial within a reasonable timeframe (or else be released). He was also denied the right to decent humane conditions whilst in detention, where he was tortured. The judiciary did not attempt to provide the legal opportunities evenly between defence and prosecution. In addition, the trial was conducted in secret, where the judge based his ruling on statements extracted under torture. The judgment on Al-Nimr is in violation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia joined in 1996. With regards to the 12 accusations charged against Ali, these cannot be classified as offences that warrant the death penalty, even according to Saudi law itself. In fact the majority of these charges are not even considered crimes in international law. This shows systematic violation by the Saudi government to human rights laws that guarantee freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly.

The torture Ali faced and the forced confessions which were not in his own handwriting, mean that any charge issued against him is null and void, as according  to Article 15 of the Convention against Torture, which Saudi Arabia joined in 1997: “Each State Party shall not be invoked any statement which is established to have been made as a result torture evidence in any proceedings”. This makes the behavior of the Saudi judicial system in dealing with the Al-Nimr’s case unlawful, particularly in relation to the adoption of statements extracted under torture an even local laws, including Article 102 of the Criminal Procedure Law:” You must questioning in the case does not affect the will of the accused in to express his words, he may not administer the oath does not use means of coercion against him, and may not be interrogated outside the headquarters of the investigation except to be determined by the investigator. “
We as Saudi organizations, whose work focuses on Saudi legal matters, note through our observation of many of issues, that the Saudi government is working systematically to implement a policy of impunity, so that many of the violations carried out by officials such as prison officers and investigators, such as torture and acts whichdegrade the dignity of victims (which are classified as punishable offenses), are not made accountable by the Saudi government. Rather, the judiciary  clearly collude with official bodies against the victims, in violation of the commitment of Saudi Arabia to the Convention against Torture in Article 13: ”Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction, has the right to complain to the competent authorities and these authorities must consider his case promptly and impartially. “

We as Saudi organizations, call upon the Saudi Arabian government to take the following action:

  1. Immediately release Ali Al-Nimr.
  2. Enable Ali and his lawyer their right to file a complaint regarding the allegations of torture he suffered, and to investigate and bring to justice thoseresponsible for the violations and abuses and those also complicit to the torture, ensuring accountability for the investigators, judges and jailers role in the torture.
  3. Immediate action to stop all forms of torture and degrading treatment and degrading treatment in Saudi prisons and places of detention.
  4. Ensure that under any circumstances, no confession is taken by force and under torture. Any victims of acts of torture should be given full justice.
  5. Honour the commitment to the international treaties Saudi Arabiahas signed, as well as complying with local laws.

Civil Office of the Ombudsman 

Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi (MHRSA) 

ALQST Advocating for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia 

European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights