لقراءته بالعربية اضغط هنا
The Saudi European Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) would like to express their concern about a series of arbitrary arrests and judicial decisions taken by the Saudi government with regards to a number of citizens who volunteeredas part of local civil protection missions.
ESOHR wishes to highlight that the criminal court in Dammam, sentenced four citizens from the city of Dammam who were volunteers, to four months in prison, based on charges of belonging to aorganizing a procession, and wearing vests which allowed them to be identified as part of these civil protection units.
In a second case, the court issued a sentence of two months to three citizens from the province of Qatif, whilst four other citizens from province of Dammam are still awaiting a court date to be set by a Criminal Court, in connectionto attending a volunteer meeting related to theirrole in the protection of some of the places targeted by extremist groups.
ESOHR wishes to emphasis that that the terrorist threats posed against the citizens, were not adequately and approariately addressed, as the Saudi government did not respond to claims of it’s threatened citizens, who called for protection via the enactment of legislation which would seek to limit hate speech, the incitement of sectarianism and extremism.
ESOHR points out that these threats prompted citizens to carry out preventive measures, which have proved effective in reducing losses, as was the case during the terrorist bombing of Imam Hussein mosque in Al Anoud, in Dammam province on the 29th May 2015. The volunteers guarding the mosquehad set up a security checkpoint at the entrance, and sucessfully intercepted the terrorist and prevented his entry into the mosque, who came with the intention to blow himself up in a mosque which accommodates upto five thousand worshippers. This was possible as the volunteers monitored suspicious movements from multiple locations and reported it to the security authorities.
ESOHR confirms that the volunteers work in relation to the protection of targeted sites was done with the full knowledge of the security authorities and in coordination and cooperation with them. It must be stressed that the arrests and trials of these volunteers will create a security vacuum, that would encourage terrorist groups to launch more targeted operation due to the lack of protection.
ESOHR would like to stress its condemnation of the actions of the Saudi government toward these citizens, in terms of arbitrary arrests and allegations which do not resemble legal crimes and are not in accordance with the provisions of international laws.
Thus we call on the Saudi authoirities to drop these charges and stop the prosecution of volunteers who joined protection initiatives. We also call on the authorities to address the core issues (such as sectarianism incitement) which compelled these young men to partake in the civilian protection units, which sought to protect others from bombings and terrorist threats.