The Third Press Release
On the Court Proceedings of
the Lawsuit Filed by the Legal Defense Team of, the Arbitrarily Incarcerated Former Judge and Attorney, Suliman Ibrahim Al-Reshoudi, A Leading Human Right Activist and One of the Founders of the First Human Rights Organization in the Country (i.e., CDLR in 1993), Brought Against the Ministry of Interior Before the Fifth Administrative Circuit Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Date: Thursday, June 17, 2010.
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Further to our second press release published on May 17, 2010 about the proceedings of the case of the arbitrary arrest of several reform advocates on February 2, 2007 in the city of Jeddah, including our client, Sheikh Sulaiman Ibrahim Al-Reshoudi. A lawsuit has been filed on our client's behalf against the Ministry of Interior (MOI)-Directorate of General Investigations (DGI)- before the fifth administrative circuit court in Riyadh on Sunday, August 16, 2009. The defense team would like to explain to those concerned the proceedings of the sixth court session, held on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. In that court hearing, the defense team presented a nine-page legal memorandum, while the representative of the MOI (DGI) did not attend the court hearing.
The following points shed some light on the course of the trial:
First: The defense team has called upon human rights activists and concerned citizens to attend the trial in conformity with the principle of transparency and ensuring justice. However, the security forces' reaction were clear, where heavy police presence was noticed around the Riyadh Grievances court building at 11 AM. This significant police forces were seen for the first time since the start of trial. There has been a large number of security patrols, traffic-police cruisers, and a group of anti-riot forces are seen close by the Court. Furthermore, a number of police cruisers are seen orbiting the court surrounding streets.
This is an obvious attempt to intimidate the people and scare them of attending the Court, which reflects the police-state mentalities who are delusional in their believe that he could terrorize people by heavy police presence. They may have forgotten that the people have already broken the fear barriers, when they learned the need to defend their rights, and the importance of defending the oppressed.
Second: A group of Saudi human rights activists came to the court, and the defense team thanks those activists for answering the call. We also appreciate those who had traveled to Riyadh to attend the trial, and extend our sincere thanks to all those who have declared their sympathy with the defense team, and those who contacted the defense team to follow up the case. We hope that more human rights activists will attend the seventh court hearing to be held on Saturday, August 7, 2010, at nine in the morning, especially since the judge has promised a bigger courtroom to accommodate those who will attend.
Third: The defendant's attorney (the Ministry of the Interior) did not attend the sixth court hearing. The trial began at 11:45 AM, when the defense team and a group of human rights activists entered the courtroom, the judge questioned the reasons for their presence in his courtroom. The defense team then reminded the judge that trials must be public, as articulated in Article (155) in the Saudi Criminal Procedure Law, which states: " Court hearings shall be public. The court may exceptionally consider the action or any part thereof in closed hearings, or may prohibit certain classes of people from attending those hearings for security reasons, or maintenance of public morality, if it is deemed necessary for determining the truth." Thus, the Judge allowed the presence of the activists in the courtroom, and said: "Had you informed us, we would have arranged for a bigger courtroom to accommodate all of those present, but we fear in the next time there would be media reporters present inside the courtroom." The defense team then confirmed to the judge that there will be even more people attending the next court hearing.
Fourth: The defense team noticed for the first time the presence of three judges in the courtroom. Judge Reshoudi's defense team handed the court two copies of the nine-page memorandum, and two copies of the Working Group of the Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) opinion, which decided that the arrest of Judge Suliman Al-Reshoudi and his colleagues is arbitrary and in accordance with international standards (Opinion No. 27/2007 on November 28, 2007). The opinion, however, is written in English, the judge then asked the defense team to have it translated by a certified translation office, and handed over to the court at the next court hearing.
Fifth: The presiding judge showed the legal memorandum handed over by the defense team at the last court hearing held on Wednesday, April 28, 2010. Where many phrases were crossed off (like the word constitution), and the judge asked the defense team to sign next to it, but the defense team objected to the court refusal to use such terms. The defense team argued that they have the right to use any terms or phrases they deem appropriate to reflect their points of view. These terms and phrases are widely used by Islamic scholars and reform advocates without embarrassment or hesitation.
Sixth: The judge then asked about the document submitted by the defendant's lawyer, which is signed by the head of the Investigation and Prosecution Commission to transfer Judge Suliman Al-Reshousdi and his comrades to the Special Criminal Court (SCC) . The latter has been registered by the number (24/2824) and dated in (January 13, 2010).
The defense team responded that the issue of transferring Suliman Al-Reshoudi and his colleagues to the SCC is only a clear trick to prolong the arbitrary arrest of our client, without a legitimate reason or justifiable action. We can prove this by the Chief Persecutor's refusal to receive the defense team's note informing him of the arbitrary imprisonment of Suliman Al-Reshoudi (in accordance with Article 39 of the Saudi Penal Code). The Chief Persecutor went even further to say that his commission has no authority over the DGI's prisons. We do not know how suddenly the Chief Persecutor has the authority to transfer DGI's prisoners to the SCC.
The other compelling argument that exposes this transfer is that it has been now nearly six months with no trial, and Judge Reshoudi and his colleagues have not heard any information about the SCC trial. Hence, this transfer is merely a clear ploy to mislead the court in believing that Judge Reshoudi and his colleagues will be taken to the SCC, and then our case would be thrown out. Thus, their plan would succeeded in keeping our client in jail for a long time. The defense team wonders what gains MOI would earn by following these devious methods in order to arrest these innocent men indefinitely. The MOI's actions will only mislead justice, violate the rights of citizens, and abuse of the country's laws. All of these are evident in keeping a well-respected seventy-five old man in detention without charges or trial.
Seventh: The defense team has emphasized to the court the application of Article (123) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which stipulates: " If the accused is referred to a court, his release if detained or detention if not under arrest shall be within the jurisdiction of the court to which he has been referred. If lack of jurisdiction is determined, the court rendering the judgment of lack of jurisdiction shall have jurisdiction to consider the release or detention request, pending the filing of the case with the competent court."
The defense team asked for the immediate release of Judge Suliman Ibrahim Al-Reshoudi as stated by the above-mentioned Article, because he has been arbitrarily detained. If he is accused of any charges, he should be tried in a court of law. we wonder what kinds of threats posed by this old man is to the country's public security.
Eighth: The judge also asked about Judge Reshoudi's prison conditions, and whether the defense team has visited him in prison?
The defense team argued that they had submitted to a request to DGI's Director General on Saturday, March 13 2010, demanding to visit their client in his prison, and to obtain his direct power of attorney and to monitor the conditions of his imprisonment. DGI, however, has apologized for the defense team's demand via a phone call made to one of the members.
The defense team reiterated their demand for the immediate release of Judge Suliman Al-Reshoudi due to his deteriorating health condition, even if released on bail. They then handed over to the Jude a copy of the letter sent by Judge Reshoudi, which describes his suffering in his cell. The judge then said that the court will decide the verdict in that case later on.
Ninth: The next hearing (i.e., the seventh) is scheduled on Saturday, August 7, 2010, at nine in the morning.
As the defense team announces the court proceedings of this case to the public, repeats their hopes for the following from judges, activists, and media outlets:
I: We urge the Administrative (Grievances) court to take its historic stand to be added to its already known accomplishments in supporting the oppressed and, protecting the rights, and fighting the injustice. These systematic violations of fundamental principles of human rights by MOI in a form that unimaginable by any conscious mind. These flagrant human rights abuses must be rejected by men who are consciously aware, and we hope that court judges to be just and not to turn a blind eye on these blatant human rights violations. Otherwise, the widespread of this kind of abuses by the authorities will lead to many tragedies and misfortunes, the last of which is the Jeddah flood disaster which killed thousands of innocent soles and destroyed tens of billions worth of properties.
II: We call upon all human rights activists, advocates of reform and change, media outlets, local human rights associations, and international human rights organizations to stand in support of the oppressed and defending their rights. All of us must stand against these systematic infringements on the rights of the detainees, whose families are devastated, and those who are kept without reason behind prisons bars with no one to defend them vis-à-vis these abuses and to represent them in court.
III: Since the court accepted and agreed to apply Article (155) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states that court trials must be public. We expect the presence of rights activists and media personals.
IV: The next court meeting will be on Saturday August 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM, in the Fifth Administrative Circuit Court at the sixth floor at the Board of Grievances (Administrative Court) in Riyadh. A detailed call for action will be posted later on in our website, www.acpra7.org (www.ksarights.org from outside Saudi Arabia).
The defense team for the imprisoned human rights activist, Judge Suliman Ibrahim Al-Reshoudi:
1. Attorney Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Wahabi, Mobile:+966555188867, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani, mobile :+966555464345, email : email@example.com.
3. Fahd Abdulaziz Al-Orani, mobile :+966502566678, email : firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Fowzan Mohsen Al-Harbi, mobile:+966501916774, email: email@example.com.