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اشتراك في جمعية الحقوق المدنية والسياسية في السعودية (ACPRA)
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    جمعية الحقوق المدنية والسياسية في السعودية » الأخبار » English


    ACPRA Condemns Secret Trials, Demands Judicial Overhaul, Disbanding the Saudi SAVAK


    The non-independent judiciary is one of the pillars of injustice that produces violence, how could its secret tribunals be trusted to render justice?


    Date: July 4, 2010.

    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

     

    To: The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud

    Initially, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) will take this opportunity to applaud your attempts for political reform. We believe that the most important reform step you have given to this country is the protection of political reform advocates. This, however, is not enough, but the advocates of political reform may view this step as initial rain drops that proceed the heavy rains. Due to the fact that political reform must start from the grassroots of the people, constitutional reform advocates have to continue their peaceful struggle and show utmost willingness to sacrifice whatever it takes. Furthermore, we are convinced that those who walk down the right path, would eventually reach their sought destination.

    You find enclosed with this letter a copy of the memorandum (The non-independent judiciary is one of the pillars of injustice that produces violence, how could its secret tribunals be trusted to render justice?). In that, we attempt to link secret trials to their causes and their substantial consequences, because healthy diagnosis is the first step that must proceed the treatment. Otherwise, we will be addressing the complications and ignoring the origin of the epidemic.

     

    We strongly believe that the treatment can only be achieved through the implementation of the following demands:

    • 1. Publishing a list of the defendants' names, who are in prison, to curb abuses, placing prisons under judicial supervision, and allowing direct control of independent human rights organizations over the Saudi prison system.
    • 2. Establishing a judicial committee to investigate human rights abuses, especially the rights of the accused and the prisoners; and to adjudicate complaints. Moreover, upgrading the Human Rights Commission to a cabinet-level ministry, and entrusting a well-respected human rights activist to be its director general, who is able to curb the Ministry of Interior's violations.
    • 3. Disbanding the Directorate of General Investigations (DGI), i.e., the Saudi secrete police, which is the most terrifying to independent judges. The secret agents have become tools for oppressing and terrorizing the people, DGI has become tantamount to the (SAVAK) in the era of the Shah of Iran's regime. Furthermore, we recommend replacing DGI by an investigative body supervised by the Supreme Judicial Council, similar to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
    • 4. Before the trials of those accused of violence, the judiciary must be reformed; that is a radical overhaul in accordance with global standards of justice, and in concurrence with the Islamic jurisprudence.
    • 5. Rejecting the rules established by the Ministry of Interior, to be applied by judges against those charged with terrorism and violence.
    • 6. Disengaging the Investigation and Prosecution Commission from the Ministry of Interior, designating its chairman as the public prosecutor, and it must fall under the auspices of the judicial authority.
    • 7. promulgating stringent laws which criminalize torture and cruel treatment.
    • 8. Enacting laws to criminalize judges' violations of the rights of the accused and the prisoners; and to criminalize judges' attempts of defrauding the law in covering up these violations; in top of these rights is the people's right for public trials.
    • 9. Bringing to court trial in accordance with the law all culprits of human rights violations; including all officials, particularly members of the security forces, judges and prosecutors, who involved in systematic torture and cover up.

     

     

     

     

    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,


            For that we put before you these demands and suggestions, hoping that you will issue a bold decision, a radical reform of the judiciary.
    We expect you to seize this opportunity before it's too late.

    Respectfully,

    The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA)

    Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Hamid

                     President

     

     

    Executive Summary

    of the Memorandum:

    (The non-independent judiciary is one of the pillars of injustice that produces violence, how could its secret tribunals be trusted to render justice?)

     

    First: Why is it? with all frequent cries of human rights advocates; the ears of governors and judges are increasingly deaf?

     

    Several Saudi human rights activists have already submitted many petitions condemning secret tribunals, notably: the petition "Secret Tribunals: You Think it's Easy, But It's Severe Injustice", sent by the advocates of the constitution reform and human rights from prison (on Tuesday, March 8, 2005). Moreover, the petition " Forming Secret Tribunals is an Attempt to Obscure Oppressions and Thwart Any Possible Political Reforms in Saudi Arabia", which was sent, to the king and to top twenty Saudi officials, by 77 Saudi human rights activists, and ( on Wednesday, May 13, 2009).

    On January 21, 2010, ACPRA sent a letter to the king; titled: " We Call for Establishing a Fact-Finding Committee To Investigate Human Right Violations by the Saudi Interior Ministry......", which " amount to crimes against humanity. "

    Following the petition condemning secret trials (signed by 77 activists), the Ministry of Justice, through its official spokesman; accepted the principle of public trials. The ministry of Justice, however, failed to keep its announced promise. Several eyewitnesses  still see the arrival of the accused to the Special Criminal Court (SCC), in solid ambulances (without windows), and surrounded by a large number of police vehicles. The accused men are then driven to the court basement, where they take designated elevators to the SCC headquarter, on the 11th and 12th floors of the Riyadh General Court building. This eyewitness account is the definitive evidence of the secret trials continuation, and it's the conspicuous proof of the failure to fulfill the promise of public trials.

     

     

     

     

    Second: Why has the judiciary ignored all appeals?

     

    Malfeasances in Saudi judiciary are structurally intrinsic because there are more than forty reasons that re-enforce backwardness of the judiciary and entrench injustice. Perhaps the most prominent amongst them is considering the ruler as the guardian over the nation, rather than the nation being the guardian of the ruler through the peoples' representatives in the parliament. Hence, given the ruler the title the "Guardian" has established tyranny through the popular phrase (the guardian knows better the interests than the nation). The other troubling phrase (the ruler, as a guardian, is the principle judge, while the court judge is only an agent); furthermore, the absence of written judicial codes and the lack of specific legal rules.

     

    Amongst the forty reasons is the fact that the Saudi juridical system authorizes torturing of the accused and covers up these systematic abuses, this failure is evident in its inability to oversee prisons. Thus, the Saudi courts admit and accept coerced confessions that are extracted by using methods that violate fundamental human rights. The Ministry of Interior has deprived the judiciary of its rights in integrating suspects; hence, the judiciary is forced to accept security officers, detectives, and prison warders' testimonies against the defendants, as if these officials are infallible.

     

    Included in these judicial malfeasances is the fact that the king's rights in appointing judges, court presidents, and members of the Supreme Judicial Council. This direct intervention has undermined judges' immunity, by weakening the controls of the judiciary protection against the breach and guarding judges from abusing their authority. Moreover, the Saudi judicial system is unable to implement its issued rulings due to judges' weak legal and political knowledge, and the slow process in adjudicating cases; all of these facts have pushed those who suffer injustice to resort to violence to settle disputes.

     

    The Saudi judiciary is weak and passive because it can't prosecute senior officials, let alone princes. Thus, it fails to protect public funds against embezzlements; in fact to the contrary, the judiciary even took part in violating the citizens' rights by issuing thousands of forged deeds that facilitate the princes' illicit ownership of tens of millions of square meters of the people's land. The Saudi judicial system still exercises mock trials and holding court trials in absentia.

     

    The oppressive security forces practice wide authority over the judiciary, while the opposite is not true because the former is protected by the principle of "work of the sovereign." Furthermore, there are both regional and ideological standards that govern the appointment of judges, court heads, and leadership positions in Saudi judiciary. Saudi judges receive major grants and gifts that raise suspicion and cast wide doubt on their integrity. Today, the Saudi judiciary uses religious discourse that legitimizes the state tyranny.

     

    Third: These violations of the judiciary independence principle, do they not  indicate that seeking refuge of the court, from the injustice of the princes especially the Ministry of the Interior,  is equivalent to Jumping out of the frying pan into the fire?

     

    Due to the fact that the Saudi justice is an easy ride to the princes, especially the Ministry of Interior. Thus  it has become a tool to violate human rights, and has become one of the pillars of trilogy of despotism: injustice, oppression and corruption. The Saudi justice is unable to combat individual violence because it is part of the systems that produce state-sponsored violence. This reality of the Saudi justice reveals the serious dangers of "the princes-clergymen duality", which has become a substitute for the people's authority.

     

     

    Fourth: Why does the Ministry of Interior risk the state's world reputation by insisting on holding secret tribunals for those accused of violence?

     

    Because secret trials are not just a plain judicial method of oppression, but they conceal the following six atrocities:

     

    • 1. The large number of political prisoners.
    • 2. The horrors of systematic torture.
    • 3. To ensure the continued obscurity of fabricated accusations of the possession of weapons and supporting terrorism.
    • 4. To shield judges who issue severe court rulings which are unjust and cruel.
    • 5. To enforce the culture of fear.
    • 6. In order to prevent the people from realizing that the primary cause of violence is political corruption, i.e., the government's breach of the People's allegiance in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence.

     

    Fifth.: ACPRA appeals to judges:

     

    For all the aforementioned reasons, we appeal to judges to be aware not to be dragged into a trap of the secret trials devised by the Ministry of Interior. The ministry wishes for the judges to be directly involved in these systematic human right violations, in order to be  partners, judicial gloves, and religious covers.

     

     

    Sixth: Healthy diagnosis is the first step that must proceed the treatment. Otherwise, we will be addressing the complications and ignoring the origin of the epidemic:

     

    • 1. Publishing a list of the defendants' names, who are in prison, to curb abuses, placing prisons under judicial supervision, and allowing direct control of independent human rights organizations over the Saudi prison system.
    • 2. Establishing a judicial committee to investigate human rights abuses, especially the rights of the accused and the prisoners; and to adjudicate complaints. Moreover, upgrading the Human Rights Commission to a cabinet-level ministry, and entrusting a well-respected human rights activist to be its director general, who is able to curb the Ministry of Interior's violations.
    • 3. Disbanding the Directorate of General Investigations (DGI), i.e., the Saudi secrete police, which is the most terrifying to independent judges. The secret agents have become tools for oppressing and terrorizing the people, DGI has become tantamount to the (SAVAK) in the era of the Shah of Iran's regime. Furthermore, we recommend replacing DGI by an investigative body supervised by the Supreme Judicial Council, similar to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
    • 4. Before the trials of those accused of violence, the judiciary must be reformed; that is a radical overhaul in accordance with global standards of justice, and in concurrence with the Islamic jurisprudence.
    • 5. Rejecting of the rules established by the Ministry of Interior, to be applied by judges against those charged with terrorism and violence.
    • 6. Disengaging the Investigation and Prosecution Commission from the Ministry of Interior, designating its chairman as the public prosecutor, and it must fall under the auspices of the judicial authority.
    • 7. Passing stringent laws criminalizing tortures and cruel treatments.
    • 8. Passing laws to criminalize judges' violations of the rights of the accused and the prisoners; and to criminalize judges' attempts of defrauding the law in covering up these violations; in top of these rights is the people's right for public trials.
    • 9. Bringing to court trial in accordance with the law all culprits of human rights violations; including all officials, particularly members of the security forces, judges and prosecutors, who involved in systematic torture and cover up.

     

    Seventh: ACPRA calls for a peaceful struggle to win rights:

    ACPRA calls upon the nation in general, and activists in particular, to engage in a peaceful struggle to resist tyranny, because it is the only way to escape the trilogy of despotism: injustice, oppression and corruption, and its outputs and its consequences.



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