ACPRA Condemns The Arbitrary Detention
of Its Co-Founder: Mohammed Salih Al-Bjady,
and Demands His Immediate Unconditional Release
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Thursday, March 24, 2011.
On the evening of Monday, March 21 2011, Mr. Mohammed Salih Al-Bjady was arrested by the Directorate of the General Investigation (DGI) in Buraydah, Qassim Province, located 300km North of Riyadh, the Saudi capital. A large group of armed special forces surrounded his home, blockaded all roads that lead to Al-Bjady's house, he was then taken by the authority in handcuffs and manacles. Mr. Al-Bjady then was taken to his office in downtown Buraydah where agents searched his business office thoroughly for several hours while he was accompanying them in shackles, this is clearly an attempt to humiliate him and tarnish his reputations. This arbitrary detention of a well-known human rights activist flagrantly violates the Saudi Basic Law of Governance and the Law of the Criminal Procedures. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and DGI's agents have become outlaw by arresting individuals without legal due process of the law. It is ironic that ordinary Saudis demand rule of law, while MOI and DGI violate the law.
Mr. Al-Bjady clearly didn't violate any law, and he didn't commit any offences against anyone. We, however, guess that he was arrested because he has been supporting political detainees' relatives, along with his ACPRA's colleagues, who gathered in front of MOI's building in Riyadh on Sunday, March 20 2011. Mr. Al-Bjady and several of his ACPRA's colleagues came to Riyadh in support of the families of the political detainees. Police officers arrested carefully-selected individuals by DGI's agents who circled the MOI's vicinity by their unmarked vehicles. Those who were arrested and released later that day heard Mr. Al-Bjady's name being repeated over the police radio, they apparently decided to detain him because of his internet writings which DGI's agents had followed closely. Police officers and secret agents, however, couldn't recognize Mr. Al-Bjady through the huge crowds of demonstrators, hence they traced him to his home and arrested him in the next evening.
ACPRA doesn't know for sure the reason for Al-Bjady arrest, but it isn't wild guess to suspect that activists, like Mr. Al-Bjady, are witch hunted by MOI. Especially after ACPRA called for sacking, interrogating, and prosecuting Prince Nayef Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (The Minister of Interior) in three counts. First, human rights abuses, second, MOI's policies are the main cause of terrorism, and third, MOI has attacked basic democratic values (like political and intellectual plurality, people's authority, nationalism, equality, and justice) using distorted religious narratives.
ACPRA has no shred of doubts that arrogant authority want to intimidate human rights activists, because the authority thinks that activists are capable to take human right abuses to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Hence, MOI has become more fearful; and the more fear it feels, the more oppressive it becomes. The biggest fear MOI senses is the possibility that activists prove its "crimes against humanity" in accordance with Rome Statute promulgated in 1998.
ACPRA calls upon MOI to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Mohammed Salih Al-Bjady. Otherwise, inform him of the charges against him if there are any, allow his attorneys to meet him in prison, and give him and his lawyers the chance to refute the charges in a court of law. Following this due process of the law will ensure the truth to come out conspicuously before the public.
ACPRA reserves its full rights to take all legal actions to free its co-founder, Mr. Mohammed Salih Al-Bjady. We take this opportunity to remained MOI, from the minister down, that going back to doing what is right is better than continuing doing wrong. MOI-top officials ought to awake and realize the new realities in the Arab countries before it's too late. Popular uprisings led to the collapse of many corrupt Arab regimes, rolled down corrupt officials' heads, and led to detaining and prosecuting oppressive ministers, secret agents, judges, prison wardens. This scenario is not farfetched, it is even closer than what people may think.
The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association