In the National Day: ACPRA demands the release of all prisoners of conscience
And calls the ruling family to a dialog with the people in a national conference to discuss the political future of the country
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
In the National Day, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), demands the release of all imprisoned human rights activists, reformists and prisoners of conscience. We ask everyone to remember their cases in the day of the nation. Resisting authority’s excessive intervention and protesting human rights violations under tyranny are the highest ranks of patriotism. The Saudi authorities must not be deluded that by using the judiciary to repress and suppress opinions and peaceful political dissidents they are making it any more legitimate. Instead, by doing so, the public trust in the judiciary will fall. For that reason, we repeat our demand for releasing all prisoners of conscience of different backgrounds. Among those:
1. Dr. Saud al-Hashimi
2. Dr. Mussa Al-Qarni
3. Dr. Abdualrahman Sadiq
4. Dr. Abdualrahman al-Shimiri
5. Suliman al-Roshudi
6. Khalid al-Omair
7. Tafiq al-Amir
8. Abdualziz al-Wihibi
9. Dr. Ahmed al-Qhamdi
10. Dr. Abdulallah al-Hamid
11. Dr. Mohammad Al-Qahtani.
12. Prof. Abdualkareem al-Khadr
13. Mohammad Al-Bjadi
14. Umar Al-Said
15. Saleh Al-Ashwan
16. Fadel Al-Munasef
17. Houd Al-Aqeel
18. Habib Al-Mateeq
19. Mohammad Al-Wada'ni
20. Issa Al-Nukhaifi
21. Muhannad Al-Muhaimeed
22. Yahya al-Wadi.
Unfortunately, we could go further and further. We demand the release of all prisoners of conscience, the implementation of the release orders that were issued for some of them and the immediate release of those whose sentences have ended.
It is unfortunate that in the 83rd anniversary of the unification of these lands, the political regime is still a tribal one. It did not develop into a modern state except when it comes to policing. It is still trying to replace the lost legitimacy with force and this explains the decade-long issue of political imprisonment.
Recently, the Saudi authorities started a large campaign to arrest, interrogate or try human rights activists in a country where civil freedoms and political rights are absent. Dr. Muhsen al-Awaji was arrested for days because of his political opinions, journalist Iman al-Qahtani was called for interrogation because of her media coverage, and Dr. Mohammad al-Abdualkareem was called for interrogation as well. In addition, Al-Majd channel's 140 TV show was suspended and journalist Abduallah al-Mudifir was prevented from hosting the Fi al-Sameem TV show. Dr. Salman al-Oudah's Lek Haq was suspended on several channels and there seems to be a new McCarthyist campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood led by the writers of the Interior Ministry and the Royal Court to repress all dissidents whether they are members of the Brotherhood or not.
Some users of social networks (Twitter and Facebook) have been also called for interrogation or arrested. Some have even been sentenced to prison. The authorities have also cracked down on protests and sit-ins across the country.
The Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministries have also participated in policing along the Interior Ministry. Lawyers, justices and preachers are under surveillance in social networks in case they criticize the government.
In one course offered by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, protests and sit-ins were considered a type of "terrorism", even though the entire world has acknowledge peaceful assembly as a human right and the Saudi government has signed international and regional treaties that acknowledge it.
And while other states work to defend their citizens even when they are accused of committing crimes by offering lawyers and calling for fair trials, our state has signed a security treaty with other Gulf States which criminalizes political dissidents, establishes intelligence cooperation about them and even surrendering them to other Gulf State in case they were called for criticizing these governments. Instead of economic union with a single currency, easier commerce and free mobility for citizen, these states have agreed to suppress their subjects.
In this national day, the ACPRA calls the ruling family to a dialog with the people in a national conference attended by elected representatives from the different regions and sectors of the society in a free and honest environment to discuss the political future of the country and to guarantee people's right for political participation and to strength the foundations of justice and equitable distribution of wealth.
The ruling family has to acknowledge that the people are the legitimate owners of the land and wealth and that the members of the ruling family are citizens like the others with the same rights and duties, and they are not masters over citizens. Hosting national dialog forums and national unity conferences that are overseen by the government itself is not useful; it is a Public Relations campaign. All troubles of the country such as poverty, unemployment, housing crisis, increasing costs, declining education and services, corruption, failure of projects and the weakness of the national identity are, in essence, the result of the poor government performance and the problems in the political system. For that reason, the ruling family, and especially the decision markers within it, has to sit as an equal party in the dialog with the elected representatives of the people to agree upon a road map for a transition period towards a state with political participation and civil society. In our country, we believe that a constitutional monarchy is the proper form of governance to achieve this.
The continuous repression, tyranny and monopoly will not ensure the stability of the country. They were tried in Syria and Libya and they had disastrous conclusion. Our people, like other peoples, include those who are willing to continue the peaceful struggle to achieve the legitimate rights. Your prions will not be enough. Each time you imprison a group, a new group will emerge. The people are the constant, while governments and, sometimes, even states are the variables.
The repression of peaceful strugglers encourages militant struggle, and the repression of those who call for reforming the regime encourages those who call for overthrowing it. As the former American President John Kennedy once said: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
For that reason, repression is not the answer and it cannot bring stability. We must, at the end, sit for a dialog to reach justice, participation and respect for human rights which guarantee stability and continuity.
At the end, we ask God to bless our people, our nation and our unity and to guide us to the shortest way to gain our rights with the least costs.
The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association