The Systematic Human Rights Violations by the Directorate of General Investigation (The Ministry of Interior) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
From the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) to the Director General of the Directorate of General Investigation (The Minister of Interior), Regarding His Responsibility in Illegal Detention and Torture.
Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011
Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
CC: The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud
CC: The Crown Prince, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
CC: The Minister of Interior, Prince Nayif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
General Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Huwairaini, The Director General of the Directorate of General Investigation (The Minister of Interior)
ACPRA is addressing you in a serious matter that concerns the general public.
First: General, why are we addressing you directly?
It is the sole and absolute responsibility of the Directorate of General Investigation's director general to monitor his own department's conducts. We are addressing you in particular because it is your absolute responsibility, as the top official of an organization repeatedly reported to violate the local and international human rights, in a systematic and structural manner. Human rights abuses by your organization have already reached the level of 'crimes against humanity'.
The practices of the Directorate of General Investigation (DGI) under your administration can be matched to that of the vicious Savak system operated under the late Shah of Iran’s government. It is too similar to the 'state security' department under the toppled dictator Mohammad Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. DGI's conducts is no difference than that of the 'investigation department' of the eloped Tunisian tyrant Zein Elabdein Bin Ali, and to the various 'security apparatus' which oppress people in different Arab countries.
The fate of the members belonging to such corrupt security systems is not unknown; they have tortured the people, fabricated the offenses, and treated people unjustly. Such corrupt agents are currently under trials by their new respective governments, and some of them are wanted by the international criminal court for crimes against humanity. Any wise human being, no matter how tempting his job was, can’t ask for a similar fate to that of those corrupt security officials, who are being persistently prosecuted by their respective new people’s governments.
DGI in many of its conducts almost resembles an outlaw militia. The difference between a militia and a respected security organization is not in the police ranks or uniforms only, a respectful law organization fights organized crimes and protects the law. It answers to the community or nation and to enforce the law, but not to individuals’ demands, especially when they don’t represent the free will of the people, or that of the law and Justice. The loyalty of the law officials should be in the first place to the nation and the citizens. The Militia serves the interests of whoever pays for its obedience, even if trespasses the law, and regardless if their practices were against the best interests of the country or the citizens.
The increased power of DGI in oppressing people is the result of secrecy and complete immunity from accountability and penalty. It leads only to empowering corrupt elements and the marginalization of the patriotic members who truly care about the country and the honor of their duty. We know for certain that DGI employs many honest professionals, who care about the country and the lawful protection of their citizens, and they don’t approve violations of their citizens' and residents' rights. We believe that these members refuse the intrusion of the security system and the evident deviation from its original goal of service. Good DGI's officers will have a role in the future, whether in unfolding and documenting the crimes committed, or in providing testimonies in courts against the corrupt officials for cruel crimes and violations of human rights inflicted.
Second: Lack of compliance of the Directorate of General Investigation (DGI) to the rule of law:
Under the pretext of the alleged war against terrorism, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) has created “special courts” under its own jurisdiction, these are illegal because they operate outside the judiciary. These courts violate the rights of the defenders and the prisoners, document forced confessions extracted under torture and coercion. Their trials convene without the attendance of the prisoner’s family, independent media, or human rights activists. In these secret court sessions, the accused is deprived of the right for an attorney during the hearings. So called “administrative verdicts” are rendered which criminalize the defendants without proper documentation of the verdict or giving the defendant a copy of his sentence, and the verdict, at the end, is usually a cruel sentence of long imprisonment. Even after the defendants spend the long imprisonment behind bars, they won't be released afterwards, as if the sentences are amenable to extension in the prisons of DGI without legal convictions. At the end, a defendant is being punished repeatedly for a single crime, which he may not even committed in the first place.
DGI not only ignores the orderly conduct of the law, but it also violates its provisions. Human rights activists have copies of many orders passed by the Board of Grievances, which oblige DGI (MOI) to abide by the article 114 of the 'Criminal Procedure Law', these actions indicate a dire breach of the law that states that:
“The detention shall end with the passage of five days, unless the Investigator sees fit to extend the detention period. In that case, he shall, prior to expiry of that period, refer the file to the Chairman of the branch of Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in the relevant province so that he may issue an order for extending the period of the detention for a period or successive periods provided that they do not exceed in their aggregate forty days from the date of arrest, or otherwise release the accused. In cases that require detention for a longer period, the matter shall be referred to the Director of the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to issue an order that the arrest be extended for a period or successive periods none of which shall exceed thirty days and their aggregate shall not exceed six months from the date of arrest of the accused. Thereafter, the accused shall be directly transferred to the competent court, or be released.”
Yet, DGI considers itself above the law, and acts as if uninterested in the legality of its actions by refusing to execute the orders of the court. In doing so, DGI is not only subject to the order of the law, but ignores court rulings to release prisoners. We can imagine what kind of frustration such actions have created for the detainees and their families, they have been out of resources, shut out on legal routes for redress, and left without anyone to support their cases. Legal channels have failed repeatedly in providing protection for the people, and the various judicial institutions, like the Board of Grievances, have let them down in their search for justice.
Third: Terrorizing people during arbitrary arrest: (Mohammed Salih Al-Bjady's case as a model):
DGI has become a terror system (even if it’s called a security system), it instills fear and terror in normal citizens and in the families of the detainees. As an example of such cruel treatments, the security forces of DGI arbitrarily arrested human rights defender and ACPRA cofounder, Mr. Mohammed Salih Al-Bjady, on the eve of Monday, March 21 2011, in the city of Buraidah in Al-Qassim province. They abducted Mr. Al-Bjady in the street by following Al-Bjady’s car until they collided with it, his hands and feet were cuffed during the arrest in a humiliating manner. He was then taken to his house where it was surrounded by a large force of security personnel, all roads toward his house were blocked, they accompanied al-Bjady in their search of the house while documenting all that on camera in front of his wife and children. Afterwards, they led him outside his house in front of his neighbours, relatives, and the passersby. They searched his office too, meticulously, with cameras rolling as if they were looking for bombs or rifles, there was no reason justifying such an excessive use of force, except instilling fear in his family, wife and children, and the intimidation of human rights defenders and the whole public.
DGI has not only violated Mohammed al-Bjady's rights, but also continues to break the previsions of the Criminal Procedure Law since al-Bjady's arrest, he was placed in detention for a duration exceeding four months without informing him or his family on the charges filed against him. He is still held in incommunicado solitary confinement, and prohibited too from communicating with anyone from the outside world including his family.
Moreover, DGI officers have called his wife on Tuesday July 12 2011, to inform her that there will be an allowed visit next Saturday, prompting her to travel to Al-Hayer prison in Riyadh from Al-Qassim (a distance of more than 350 km). When she arrived to the prison, they asked her and the children to board a bus to a building where she was asked to wait there for three hours without an air conditioning in the steaming heat of Riyadh. When the smoldering heat became intolerable, she asked the warden to turn the air conditioning on, but the warden treated the family harshly and refused to oblige, he told them instead “if you don’t like it, go back home”, in an obvious attempt to stress the family. After the long wait and the difficult travel, the prison officials told the family that al-Bjady was transferred on the day before (Thursday) to another prison in Jeddah (Zahban), without giving any justification.
Four: The fabrication of charges against human rights defenders to limit their activity: (al-Bjady and the Jeddah prisoners as examples)
Beside all of the above, DGI has repeatedly fabricated charges against human rights defenders, whether of moral nature, violence and terror-related crimes, or financing terrorist’s groups’ charges. Despite the fact that the Investigation and Prosecution Bureau has never interrogated Mohammed al-Bjady, rather than officially charge him with certain indictments, DGI has leaked rumors that he will be charged with “disobedience of the rulers”, “speaking with foreign media”, and “incitement for demonstrations”, moreover, when the case of Mr. Al-Bajadi was tried in court on Saturday August 6 2011, a new charge was filed against him, “of being a member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, ACPRA”, as if defending human rights and alleviating the people’s grievances are violations in the eyes of the ministry of interior!!
But, general, you know better the real reason for the arrest and detention of Mr. al-Bjady! Mohammed Al-Bjady has revealed a hideous crime committed in one of the DGI prisons 'Tarafiya' in Al-Qassim region. The Yemeni prisoner, Sultan Mohammad Abdu Al-Daees, was murdered on 1st of December 2010, due to excessive torture by the officers during the investigation. Mohammed Salih al-Bjady has documented the murder under the interrogation with supportive evidence, documents, and testimonies from the deceased’s family. These testimonies and witnesses clearly point to the perpetrator, interrogating officer, lieutenant colonel (N. I. D), who has beaten the victim to death.
General Abdulaziz Al-Huwairaini,
You are better informed than anyone that the real reason for the arrest of the Islamic constitution reformers in Jeddah (Shaikh Suleiman Al-Reshoudi, Dr. Musa Al-Qarni, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Shumairi, Dr. Saud Al-Hashimi, and others), who called for national unity and peaceful resistance, is due to their social and political activism. Despite this, charges are fabricated against them, such as disobedience to the rulers, extremism and terrorism.
We address you as the first responsible officer in DGI, and we remind you that covering up of these crimes is the same as committing them. Whether you have given personally direct or your superior at MOI to inflict torture on suspects, the law does not absolve anyone from such crimes, whether they were the individuals who committed them, ordered them, or covered up for them in accordance with the Convention Against Torture (CAT) articles. Based on the international treaties signed by the Saudi government, which require that the murderer of the prisoner under interrogation, the director of DGI prison at 'AL-Tarafiya', and the rest of the top officials and interrogators in the prison, and anyone directly or indirectly involved in this crime, should be brought to justice in public trials. So that offenders may receive their just verdicts according to international conventions which are in accordance with the Islamic Sharia’a laws set 14 centuries ago.
For that, we ask you to immediately and unconditionally release the human rights defenders, and in particular, Mr. Mohammed Al-Bjady, who has been targeted by corrupt DGI officials to cover up on a crime and to mislead justice. Corrupt DGI agents made sure to forge his arrest under fragile charges so that he wouldn’t reveal the real criminals involved in the secret torture in the investigation prison cells.
Upon the release of Mr. Al-Bajadi, we ask you to offer your formal apology and compensation for whatever happened to him in monetary and moral means. However, if you refuse to comply, the full responsibility of such crimes will fall upon you, and you may be liable for investigation and prosecution by the international legal and human rights organizations (that is if the local judicial institutions fail follow their national duty). You will be brought to the International Criminal Court because you have covered up or for giving orders of torture of prisoners whether or not they lead to death. You know for sure that Mohammed Al-Bjady's case isn’t isolated, and isn't a single case, it’s one of thousands, which occur in the light of the hideous practices committed by DGI, which violate the basic human rights. The human rights activists and organizations, including (ACPRA), have in their possessions, many documents and testimonies, on the serious violations committed by DGI officers under your direct authority during arrests, interrogation, and detention, some of which are outlined in this letter.
Five: Spying and trespassing people’s privacy and terrorizing them
In the possession of many activists and human rights organizations, including ACPRA, lots of evidence and legal documents to prove that their phone calls and communications are tapped, without a legal order according to the international treaties approved by the Saudi government. In many cases, DGI utilizes unmarked cars to monitor activists’ houses and their shopping areas, in order to intimidate and terrorize them. As an example of which, what happened with the activist Mrs. Reema al-Juraish, ACPRA member, who noted a car parked all the time in front of her house, instilling fear in her children and visitors. She also received tens of threats, pressuring her to withdraw her membership in the society.
It was obvious to activists and human rights organizations, including ACPRA, that the threatening calls received by certain individuals from DGI agents were aimed to deter the families of the prisoners or suspects from contacting civil societies or human rights activists. As an example of which what happened with to the family of Majid bin Saeed Al-Ghamdi, who is detained in Iraqi Kurdistan’s prison, he has asked his brothers to call ACPRA to report the circumstances of his detention, however, members of the investigation department who were tapping the calls, immediately called the family afterward to talk them out of seeking help from the ACPRA. The Saudi authorities, do not only ignore the defense of their citizens abroad through diplomatic means, they even prevent their local out-reach to the community of activists and societies in Saudi who may offer help.
Six: Threatening and annoying the young rights activists
DGI has contacted some of those activists who signed the political rights petitions or attended civil organizations meetings, targeting the youth groups in particular, whereby DGI agents call activists, as the case of the member who identified himself as “Captain Khalid Al-Saif”, and claim that he is authorized by general Abdulaziz Al-Huwairini to contact the activists. He summons several activists to DGI headquarter in Riyadh, to inquire about some information, and when some of them do show up for the inquiry, DGI officials started asking about an individual, allegedly involved in violence, for the main aim of intimidating the activists and limiting their future activism.
Though some activists did cooperate with DGI in their alleged investigation, they were nevertheless placed under surveillance and annoyed at their work and families, as what happened with the activist, Suleiman Ali Al-Enazi, who were threatened by DGI secret agents of losing his job and source of income, so he would join the silent majority. Suleiman Al-Enazi is an example of many youth who started breaking the fear barrier to document the violations of the practices of DGI by informing human rights organizations of such abuses. These groups have started, too, to file legal complaints to the royal courts, and this will provide amble proof, one day, of DGI crimes against humanity.
In many cases, DGI secret agents tend to annoy the families or arrest one of the members to pressure the activist, an example is the illegal arrest of the student (Thamer Bin Abdulkarim Al-Khidr), who were stopped in his car and threatened with pointed arms toward him in public to surrender. He was then placed in a solitary confinement without charges, while depriving him of all his basic civil and legal rights. He was tortured until he lost hearing in one of his ears without access to treatment for a long period, he was threatened with the arrest and murder of his father and brothers, all of these acts were aimed to pressure the father, Shiek Doctor Abdulkarim Al-Khidr, a member of ACPRA, to stop presuming his human rights activism. Thamer maybe one of thousands or even tens of thousands of innocent detainees arrested illegally.
Seven: Kidnapping besides the arbitrary detention
Usually, DGI officers and its secret agents arrest individuals on the streets, in their work, or at homes without any due process of law. The defendants are not informed of their crimes or violations in contradiction to the provisions of the Basic Law of Governance and the Criminal Procedures Law, which have been breached repeatedly by DGI in a blatant and disgraceful manner. The best example of such cases is that of the student (Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bin Saud Al-Rasheed), who was lured by DGI agents, and made to believe that he will receive a compensation for a previous arbitrary detention. Upon showing at the Interior Ministry, DGI agents arrested him again and locked him up at Al-Hayer prison in Riyadh for over five years, he was then denied access to all of his basic rights.
A stark example of the abduction practiced by DGI, is the arrest of the Syrian publisher (Dr. Alaa Eldin al-Rashi), who participated in the international book fair in Riyadh on March 2011. While waiting for his wife outside their home in Riyadh, Dr. Al-Rashi was abducted by DGI secret agents, and his wife was left in shock of his disappearance, she kept on checking on his whereabouts from all his acquaintances in Riyadh to no avail, she realized that he was arrested few days later. Moreover, he was not allowed a lawyer during interrogation, and kept in an incommunicado prison, and feared of being subjected to severe torture.
DGI breaches the right of expression and freedom of opinions as supported by the international conventions and treaties. The case of Sheikh (Tawfiq Jaber Ibrahim Al-Amer), who disappeared on August 4 2011 at Al-Hasa, in the Eastern province, is a clear example. His family did not know his fate or his whereabouts, only to find out many days later that he was arrested for his activism and peaceful demands. He was arrested earlier on March, 2011 for demanding a political reform in Saudi Arabia by transforming form of governance to a constitutional monarchy.
DGI agents arrest individuals of opinions without clear charges, then they start fabricating charges against them by searching homes and offices for clues of any evident, they even arrest some of the family members or employees, asking them during the interrogation to confess by force to condemn the defendants. As in the case of Sheik Dr. Yusuf Al-Ahmad, who has been arrested along with his driver and personal secretary, his house and office was searched for obtaining any piece of evidence –even if tenuous- to charge him.
Along the same line, the arrest of Mr. Khalid Al-Jehani, and the civil activist, Mr. Fadhel Al-Manasif, and the writer Natheer Al-Majid, and Dr. Mubarak Al-Zuair, Sheikh Suleiman Al-Duwaish, and Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Wuhaibi (a cofounder of the Islamic Umma Party). All these are examples on the systematic illegal arrests and detention, where people are arrested without enabling them to contact lawyers to represent them during interrogation and court trials. They are currently locked in DGI prisons without charges, and no monitoring of DGI prisons by independent organizations. To date, there are more than 30,000 prisoners in DGI prisons held arbitrarily.
Can you, Mr. General, deny these facts, and open the prisons for the independent human rights organizations? Isn’t the excess of the systematic torture and illegal arrests cases considered as 'crimes against humanity'? The deprivation of liberty and human dignity is far more dangerous than confiscating money, and even the taking of life itself. If the spread of fear and terror in public by the practice of arbitrary detention and torture are not crimes against humanity, so what are they?
Eight: The deprivation of defendants of their legal rights during detention
In addition to the deprivation of detainee from their rights supported by Islamic Jurisprudence 14 centuries ago, as the deprivation of the right to be represented by a lawyer and a fair public trial; the imprisonment for obstruction of justice and not for mere confinement is not practiced, the defendant (in a country committed to Islamic Jurisprudence) is denied all of his legitimate rights. He is kept confined in a solitary detention for long periods reaching years at some cases, and he is kept in isolation from the outside world, in a blatant violations, not only of his legitimate rights, but also to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law, which may have been the worst legal code system in world, yet DGI insists on conducting trials in its secret courts. An example is the arbitrary arrest of the young man (Suleiman bin Ayed Al-Ayed), who has been locked up in solitary prison cell for over four years, until he was allegedly afflicted with hallucination, without any legal checks or balances to protect him from torture. Moreover, the sentence as endorsed by the secret court has been served without the release of the defendant by secret police.
Activists and human rights organizations, including ACPRA, have received several accounts of complaints from the families of the detainees, indicating that for those prisoners with intractable illness, they have been denied access to medical care or medications. Like the case of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Hudhaif, who were denied the medical care despite the severity of his illness, and sheikh Ahmad Bin Saleh Al-Sinani, his frail aging body of almost 70 years, suffers several illness, including renal failure, yet he is denied access to the necessary medical care. Another example is the young man (Khalid Hamdan Al-Juwair) who is arrested at the Tarafiya prison in Al-Qassim, then was transferred to Al-Hayer prison, where he was denied access to the specialized therapy desperately needed for his cancer.
On the same note, the case of the Kuwaiti prisoner (Nasser Bin Naif Al-Hajri) who was held at DGI prison in Dammam, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and was denied access to medical care for the treatment of his cancer, which has spread through his body during his imprisonment. As well the complaint received by the families of the prisoners (Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Dakheel, and Sameer Mohammad Abu Onuq) and many of their alike, who suffer chronic and intractable diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and yet deprived of the necessary treatment. Where DGI prisons administration refused to permit doctors to examine these prisoners or give them access to receive medication through their families, without any justification. Many activists and human rights organizations can testify on cases where the physical and mental conditions of the prisoners have deteriorated because of such prevention of medical care. Many more cases exist beside those appearing on the files of activists and human rights organization.
Does DGI aim through this cruel and inhumane treatment of the prisoners to annihilate them in its prisons without a formal legal execution? What supports this question is that some of the prisoners’ conditions have been sharply deteriorated. If DGI acknowledges such cases and particularly those with severe conditions and yet does not allow them access to treatment until they die of those conditions, then this should be considered as crimes committed with full premeditated intention, which calls for local and international prosecution for all the agents and officers involved. The first on that list should be you, general director of DGI, for your direct responsibility for such acts and for covering up on these crimes.
Nine: The systematic torture to extract confessions
In a blatant violation of the Criminal Procedures Law (regardless of how unjust it is), DGI agents undertake interrogation of defendants in prison, regardless of the fact that this is a duty of Investigation and Prosecution Bureau. DGI agents torture detainees mentally and physically to extract confessions by force. Among the methods used, according to the testimonies of the prisoners and their families, are the deprivation of sleep for days, hanging the defendant in an upright standing positions for days, long solitary confinement until the prisoner breaks down and hallucinate, threats of sexual assaults, and luring the young prisoners by false promises to confess with crimes they didn’t commit. Such cruel practices are examples of the systematic crimes committed by DGI against citizens and legal residents, this letter will not suffice to mention all, because of their excess counts!!
One example is what happened to the citizen (Murad Bin Mohammad Al-Mukhlef), detained in the DGI prison in Dammam since February 28 2010, he was severely tortured until he lost the ability to move, he became paralyzed and was placed on a wheel chair. DGI refuses to release him, moreover, they negotiate with his family to sign warranties to gave up their rights for compensation and threat them with possible arrest of his mother and wife if they ever contacted the press.
There are numerous cases where DGI not only detain the head of the family for long periods, but arrest the wife as well, as a method to extract confessions of crimes never committed, or for pressuring the wife to stop pursuing her husband’s case. The best example is what happened to the female citizens (Haifa’a bint Theyab Al-Ahmadi) and (Najwa Bint Hamid Al-Saeedi), in June 20 2011, when they were arrested by DGI agents. Their children, including infants, were left behind without any maternal or paternal care.
Another example is what happened to the Kuwaiti citizen (Nasser Bin Naif Theeb Al-Hajiri), who was arrested on his way to the holy mosques in a pilgrimage trip, he was imprisoned for more than two years in DGI prison, where he was subjected to severe beatings on the head, the negligence of providing medical care to his head injury has resulted in later a diagnosis of brain tumor. Along that, the attempt to assassinate Sheikh Mukhlef Bin Dahham Al-Shammari, according to the testimony of his daughter Shouq and to the published story on 'Platform of Dialogue and Creativity' website.
In most testimonies on torture, the prisoners are made to wear eye covers so as not to see their tortures or surroundings; in other cases, the interrogation officers wear black masks to hide their true identities, for fear of future recognition by any of the victims. They think –erroneously- that such methods of cover will absolve them of the consequences of their actions. Torture, cruel and humiliating treatments of prisoners, even if away from the supervision, or behind the walls of the secret chambers, or taking precautions, will not hide the crimes. Those involved in torture will not evade the legal prosecutions and penalties locally and abroad, and will receive their just penalty sooner or later.
Mr. General, DGI director general, if the interrogation officers at your prisons –who are under your direct authority- are trying to hide their true identities by wearing masks and covering their victims’ eyes, then you and your colleagues, as the responsible authorities, must know their true identities well. You are responsible fully in the eyes of all the legal authorities inside or outside the country for their full range of actions, this is why we ask you to clear your legal responsibility by submitting to justice all the individuals and entities involved in torture, so they can receive their penalty according to the law. If you didn’t do this, you will be subjected to direct legal responsibility even if you justified your actions as following the orders of your superiors in the Ministry of Interior! This will not absolve you from the direct legal responsibility for all the violations committed according to the international conventions and treaties of human rights, including the international declaration of human rights and the convention of the prevention of torture.
Ten: The selective application of legal codes to abuse and blackmail the human rights activists
Despite the obvious intent on violating the legal codes of law by DGI, and the blatant violation for the legal guarantees, which protect the rights of the prisoners and defendants, in particularly the violation of the articles related to the Basic Law of Governance and the Criminal Procedures Law, DGI insists on adhering to the ambiguous articles of the current law. For example, the exploitation of article 125 of the Criminal Procedures Law , which states that “The decision staying the case shall not preclude the reopening of its file and the reinvestigation whenever there is new evidence strengthening the charge against the dependent. Such new evidence includes testimony of witnesses as well as records and other documentation that had not been previously presented to the Investigator.”
DGI has abused this article in the extortion of the rights of the activists and political reformers. After an activist is jailed for a long period in solitary confinement, the department starts negotiating for confessions of crimes he did not commit, the 'Special Criminal Court' (SCC) approves such confessions in secret sessions, held on the dark hours of the night, without a lawyer or representatives for the public prosecution. The defendant are then asked to sign on a series of pledges before the release, they tell the defendant that his case will be re-open for investigation according to the above article of the law, so he wouldn’t resume his previous activism.
Eleven: intentionally insulting the families of the prisoners
The families of the prisoners suffer the cruel and severe loss of one of its members, whom at many times, is the sole bread winner for the family, and the family became prey for anxiety and worry as they search for justifications for the arrest. They don’t usually realize the course of legal actions to take in order to protect the right of their imprisoned relative. There is no grievance channel or lawyers to defend the case against DGI, such families are usually destined to displacement, loss, confusion, and loss of hope.
Above that, it is customary to prevent the family from visiting their imprisoned relative, and they are not granted a permission unless after the passing of many long months. In many instances (documented by many cases in the possessions of activists including ACPRA), the imprisoned individual stays for years without visits. When the family finally get to visit their relative. they receive varieties of humiliating and degrading treatment, starting from the long waiting queues at the prison gates, where elderly, women and children spend long hours under the summer heat or the winter bitter cold, before allowing them entry to the building. Where they are usually transferred to the visiting quarters in solid vans without windows, then they are searched by passing through advanced automatic inspection and detection machines, where the women are asked to undress completely and physically searched by female inspectors, who intentionally touch the sensitive body areas of the women visitors in a disgraceful manner. Such cases are documented, and you were notified earlier by cables sent to you and to the minister of interior, but nothing has changed, which causes a lot of families- and women in particular- to stop visiting their relatives to avoid such degrading and humiliating treatment.
DGI agents do not stop at this, they have placed their agents all over the visiting facility to listen in to the brief and private conversations of the prisoners and their family members in their visits, which only take place a few minutes a month. In many cases, the harassments extend beyond the prisoner and the visiting hours to the families of the prisoners, where DGI officers pressure the prisoner by giving him false information, forcing him to contact his family to stop them from taking any further action for prosecution or demands of prisoner’s rights.
Twelve: the conclusion
There is no doubt that you are aware of all the atrocities and violations of the corrupt elements in DGI, such acts are not legally-limited in time, and remain under the responsibility of the offenders even in the future, no matter how long it takes. You are aware that the activists and the active society (inside and outside) and the international organizations are documenting with complete accuracy all the violations, crimes, and irregularities. The day will come where all these cases will be submitted with testimonies and documents to an independent court nationally or internationally, and at that moment, there will be no one to offer the human rights offender any protection, no matter how elevated his status were. On the contrary, they will be the escape goat for those who ordered such violations, whoever ordered a torture will not be able to defend himself, nevertheless to defend other violators, a wise man is that who learns from another’s fate, as the fate of Habib Al-Adly, Egypt former interior minister, and his secret agents, or their alike, these are far examples for you.
The cases and the names listed in this note are only examples for tens of thousands of cases you and your colleagues are familiar with, along your long years of service and along your current management of DGI. We demand that you submit anyone who has been involved in violations of the human rights to justice, and to provide a list with the names, ranks, and crimes of all those members, particularly since they all fall under your direct responsibility. The responsibility is measured relative to the powers given, and if the authority can be delegated, the responsibility cannot. Every man in power (no matter how elevated he is) is responsible for all of his employees' violations.
If you are unable to present those corrupt agents accused of the systematic violations of human rights to justice, we advise you to submit your public resignation immediately, and disown yourself from all these terrible crimes. If you don’t, there will be a day –even if you see it far away while most people see it close- where you will be standing in the defendant cage, facing a legitimate court that serve the public, so save yourself now.
We remind you and your employees with the articles of fighting the torture treaty and of other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment conventions, which is signed and ratified by the government of Saudi Arabia on 23 September 1997, and which place you in direct responsibility. It will not be helpful to pledge obedience to the orders of your superiors in the ministry of interior, the articles of fighting torture treaty state that:
1. “every country should take all measures, whether executives, administrative, effective legal, or any other measures to prevent the acts of torture in any province under its legal jurisprudence”
2. “It is prohibited to claim obedience to any exceptional circumstances whatever they were, whether under war or threats of war, or political unrest, internally or any other emergency status as a justification for torture”
3. “It is not allowed to claim obedience to orders released by higher rank officials or public authority as a justification for torture”
4. “Each country guarantees that all torture are considered as crimes according to the national code of criminal law, and that codes are applied to any individual trying to use torture or any other act considered as collaboration and participation in torture, each country must warrant those torture crimes with penalty suitable for their serious nature”
5. “Each member country guarantees that their assigned authorities conduct a fair and quick investigation whenever reasons arise to suspect that an act of torture has been committed, in any of the provinces under its legal jurisdiction”
Thirteen: Why does ACPRA send copies of this letter to the human rights bodies in the United Nations?
As you can see at the end of this letter, several copies has been sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee Against Torture, and the working group on the arbitrary detention, and many special rapporteurs of the human rights council in the united Nations, in which the Saudi government has sought to become an active member.
ACPRA has decided to address the human rights bodies for these reasons:
1. The Saudi government have complied, with free will, with the decisions and regulations of human rights council, a matter of pride for the Saudi government. Accordingly, addressing the council and referring to its regulations is an accepted and legal action, the human rights council is a reference for international human rights, and it is the right of individuals and civil societies to submit their grievances directly to the special rapporteurs of human rights and to other committees in the council.
2. The families of the imprisoned individuals have submitted, individual and combined, letters to the local judicial institutions, to the top officials in Saudi, to National Human Rights Society, and to the governmental Human Rights Commission, to no avail. Their letters have not been answered, and the injustice practiced against the prisoners has not been corrected, they remain in the DGI prisons without charges or legal verdicts. ACPRA, too, has submitted letters demanding the establishment of an independent fact finding committee to investigate violations committed by the ministry of interior, in a systematic and structural manner, but what was the result? Not only the ignorance of these letters but continued violations which reached an intolerable status!
- 3. The group of the oppressive princes and their lieutenants are using a double discourse at the international podiums (like the international human rights council), to describe and accuse the detainees as terrorists, supporters of terror, or extremism. While inside the country, they discredit reformers and human rights activists by accusing them of having foreign agenda or ties, as if they were against the nation. They sentenced them harshly in secret courts (Khalid Al-Omair: 8 years/ Mansour Al-Outha: 15 Years/ both are activists calling for a constitution and an Islamic civil society in Jeddah who are still being tried after four years in prison). The princes of oppression utilize the international platforms to strengthen their image, but on one day, this hypocrisy practiced by these princes will be exposed and the activists will have their documented viewpoint stated without fear of oppression.
- 4. Most of those who violate human rights whether DGI agents, top officials, interrogators, judges, or prison wardens, think that the minister of interior is not answerable to anyone, particularly since he was appointed a second deputy, and he maybe a crown prince in the near future, and then a king. So they think that he will control the justice system, and he will cover up their crimes under the pretext of protecting the sovereignty of the state. Under such assumptions, they go ahead assured, in oppressing the dignity of the citizens, crushing the will of the nation, and crushing the dignity of the citizen, under the responsibility of the minister of interior, imagining that they will elope the consequences and survive the penalties.
- 5. Those submitting to the theory of “I’m only a slave serving the orders”, do not realize that they are being tricked into a trap. Any prince can place them in the trap, especially since most of the torture orders are verbally delivered by phones, and for those written orders, a phrase is usually used “to apply pressure on the detained”. Which means anything from hanging the prisoners up, beaten him up, depriving him of medical care, or locking him up in solitary detention, until they become insane, paralyzed, or dead, or until they gave up under torture. The top official can escape since he didn’t specify any acts of torture, while the obedient, submissive servants can be presented –if caught- as escape goats.
- 6. We realize that any cooperation with human rights organizations will be explained by the princes of oppressions and by their security systems, which crush the dignity of the people, as forging alliances with the West. This may sit well with the naive so they can continue shutting people down, but the government that participated in the United Nations, signed their treaties, and approved their regulations is obliged to respect human rights and allow passing complaints and grievances from its people to the United nations’ concerned committees.
- 7. Because of the failure of the courts in general, and the court of grievance in particular, in delivering justice to the victims and families of the victims of torture and arbitrary arrests. The court of grievance is repeatedly pleading “lack of jurisdiction” in cases against the ministry of interior or DGI. Moreover, when the court of grievance issues orders to the ministry of interior to comply with the article 114 of the legal procedures code, DGI does not commit to it. ACPRA has many verdicts issued against DGI where they refused to comply; there are a number of law suits filed against DGI at the grievance court, involving the long arbitrary detention of prisoners without any legal charges, what were the results? The ministry of interior has used their influence to cancel the law suits, or to procrastinate the hearings of the cases by not showing at the court, in order to extend the imprisonment of detainees unnecessarily. And there is the insistence of DGI to hold the courts in secret under its own jurisdiction, particularly those trials of the activists. Under the obstinacy of DGI and the refusal to submit to the order of the law, the ACPRA has thus exhausted all local resources to claim justice, and nothing has been left but to address the United Nations bodies to protect human rights.
- 8. We are not aware of the particular agency in the country to investigate the cases of torture, and to prosecute the criminals of inhumane and cruel actions. The ministry of interior, always insist through its own committee, which has been formed lately, to look into the monetary compensation cases without investigating the claims of the physical and psychological torture of the victims by the investigation officers. The court has not been successful in conducting public prosecutions of the human rights violators until they receive their just penalties. It is unreasonable that the ministry of interior plays the role of both the prosecution and the judge in violations cases, it’s also unacceptable that in cases of violations, the only action taken is give monetary compensations to victims, without legal investigation to serve justice to the victims or publicly exposing such acts, so they are not repeated with others again. In the light of the desperate attempts of the top officials in the ministry of interior to cover up the torture crimes and to protect abusers, let alone ordering such violations in the first place. ACPRA has no option but to address the human rights council for the serious violations of human rights and to stop further murders and torture in the secret prisons of the interior ministry, which enjoy immunity from inspection and supervision, let alone accountability, because of the failure of the public prosecutor in conducting his duty.
- 9. The targeting of human rights activists and fabricating charges against them by DGI, its security system is employing arbitrary detention along with secretive and unjust trials. Recently, the investigation department along with its secret bodies is leading a campaign to defame the Saudi human rights activists. A group of Saudi columnists have written several pieces in the local news describing the human rights activists as dancers, or troubled students in a turbulent school, one of those columnists have described the activists as "deviants" of the rightful religion. ACPRA claims that there is an ongoing campaign against the activists in Saudi, staged by DGI, the first sign is the issuance of the erroneous legal code “The penal system for the crimes of terror or its financing” by the ministry of interior. Which if approved, will give the ministry of interior complete authority in arresting any activists who annoy the government in particular, therefore, ACPRA has no way but to seek grievance at the special rapporteurs in the human rights council in the United Nations.
- 10. The governmental Human Rights Commission, directed by Dr. Bandar Al-Eban and Dr. Zaid Al-Hussein, is playing a dangerous role in the human rights council. Instead of defending human rights in Saudi and exposing violations committed, the organization is fabricating a wide campaign to twist the facts, and to spread false information of the status of human rights in Saudi. Thus, ACPRA is addressing the human rights council to shed light on the reality of the human rights status, and to expose the serious violations documented by ACPRA inside Saudi
The Saudi civil and political rights
A copy with regards to:
1. Judge: Navi Pillay, the high commissioner of human rights, United Nations
2. The committee against torture, Human Rights Council, United Nations
3. The special rapporteur of torture, cruel and degrading treatment in the human rights council, United Nations
4. The special rapporteur of the human rights defenders in the human rights council, United Nations
5. The working group of arbitrary arrest in the human rights council, United Nations
6. The special rapporteur of executions outside the legal authority in the human rights council, United Nations
7. The special rapporteur of supporting and protecting the freedom of speech in the human rights council, the United Nations
8. The special rapporteur on supporting and defending human rights in light of prevention of terrorism in the human rights council, United Nations
9. The special rapporteur of the independent judges and lawyers in the human rights council, United Nations
10. The special rapporteur of the freedom of assembly in the human rights council, United Nations.