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From School Chairs to Death Penalty, the Saudi Citizen (Ali AlRebh)

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On the ninth of June 2014, the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in Jeddah, in the presence of three judges headed by Judge Omar AlHassen, announced an initial sentenced to the death penalty on Ali Saeed Al-profit (20 years) on in the fifth session of his trial.

AlRebh has been in the Investigation Department prison in Dammam.

The public prosecutor called for the death sentence on 26 of the detainees, including some which legally considered to be minors when they were arrested, according the European Saudi Society for Human Rights (ESSHR) observations.

Those detainees were attested in regard to the peaceful protests that have taken place in Saudi Arabia since 2011.

The AlRebh’s sentence is among five others initial sentences of death penalty issued until this June, while others detainees have been sentenced to prison ranging from 3 months to 30 years. Yet, some detainees are still not been sentenced.

AlRebh’s procedure has shown many violations since arrest all the way to the interrogation.

To be specific, he was arrested from his school chair on 12/02/2012, where he was in third grade of high school.

At that time, he was 18 years and two months, and prior to the arrest, he did not receive any notification of any kind.

He was held first at Safwa city police station, located north of Qatif city, and then was transferred to Qatif city police station several times where he was interrogated and tortured there.

After nearly 20 days, he was transferred to Investigation’s prison in Dammam and placed in a solitary confinement accompanied by systematic torture, deprived of contact and visit for more than 4 months, except one call he made for a very short period of time informing his family his arrival at the Investigation’s prison.

AlRebh has been suffering physically and psychologically because of torture, including tremor (twitching) in various body parts, back and head pain, swelling in the nose, cigarette burns in various body parts, sever weight loss.

Furthermore, and since he was in a solitary confinement, AlRebh is having sleep disorder due to panic and anxiety, even if fall asleep, he would wake up having a panic attack.

This situation has forced AlRebh to take sleeping aids pills for a while.

He was not allowed to have a lawyer at the beginning, only after the first session of his trial.

This move weakens the lawyer’s position on AlRebh case and gave the authority the absolute power which led to many violations.

In addition, several new charges were added at the first session that it even surprised AlRebh himself where he was not aware of at all.

And based on forced confession and other violations, the public prosecutor charges c with 11 felonies, including:

–         Possession and use weapon against security force and to protect the demonstrations

–         Possession and use Molotov cocktail against security force cars

–         After setting fire to a security car, driving and stealing its contents.

–        Robbery of a Pharmacy and destroying its contents.

–        Organizing and participating in the demonstrations.

–        Illegal graffiti.

–        Participation in a (Group) in Blackberry that cares demonstrations.

–        Attending speeches by Sheikh Nimr AlNimr.

–        Harboring a fugitive.

The ESSHR has noticed an exaggeration of the charges announced by the public prosecutor against the detainees, this was discussed in details in another report, specifically, in “Demand the Death Penalty” which issued on December 22, 2013.

The Saudi court did not take into consideration the torture, nor the forced confession, therefore, using a false confession is a clear violation of Article 15 of the Convention against Torture, which joined Saudi in 1997 (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…)

We in the ESSHR urgently demand the Saudi government the following:

  1. The abolition of the death penalty issued against AlRebh.
  2. An immediate release of AlRebh and all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
  3. Presentation of the tortured fair trials, an investigation of the principle of non-impunity.

The ESSHR calls the international community to immediately intervene to protect Ali Saeed AlRebh, who was sentenced to death in an unfair trial, also calls for the other following reasons:

  1. Condemnation of the death penalty against him, especially considering the lack of a fair trial.
  2. Demanding the Saudi authorities to drop down provisions politically motivated rules and unconditionally release of all political prisoners, due to systematic, intense torture and forced confessions, as it is being noticed and discussed in details in various reports issued by ESSHR.
  3. Put an end to the use of torture in detention centers.
  4. Calling the Saudi authorities to prosecute responsible officials in all cases of torture carried out in detention centers in Saudi Arabia, especially in the Investigation prisons, either through giving orders, supervision, or knowing about torture.
  5. Demand the Saudi government to comply with its commitments to international conventions.