Saudi Arabia
Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment against Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham


SAU 006 / 0818 / OBS 105

Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment/

Threat of being sentenced to death

Saudi Arabia

August 22, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Saudi Arabia.

Description of thesituation:

The Observatory has beeninformed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassmentagainst Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham, a human rights activist, from the regionof Qatif, a eastern coastal city with a Shia majority.

According to theinformation received, on August 15, 2018, the Saudi public prosecution calledfor sentencing Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham to the death penalty during the firstcourt session before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh -set up totry terrorism cases- against her and five other activists[1]following 32 months of arbitrary detention. The Public Prosecution accused thesix defendants of “participating in protests in the Qatif region,” “incitementto protest,” “chanting slogans hostile to the regime,” “attempting to inflamepublic opinion,” “filming protests and publishing on social media,” and“providing moral support to rioters”, charges that do not correspond to anycodified crime. The Public Prosecution called for the death penalty based onthe Islamic law principle of ta’zir,in which the judge has discretion over the definition of crimes and sentences.During this hearing, Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham had no access to legalrepresentation. The next hearing is scheduled for October 31, 2018.

Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham hadtaken part in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations since 2011, during the ArabSpring, documented mass demonstrations in the Eastern provinces, and calledmany times for the respect of freedom of assembly and expression, the releaseof prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders and expressed heropinions on social media platforms.

Ms. IsraaAl-Ghomgham was arbitrarily arrested on December 6, 2015, after the Saudiauthorities launched a raid at her home, arbitrarily arresting her and herhusband. They have been detained in Dammam’s al-Mabahith prison until now.

The Observatory condemns inthe strongest terms the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms.Israa Al-Ghomgham and urges the Saudi authorities to immediately andunconditionally release her as well as the other human rights defendersarbitrarily detained, as her criminalisation only seems to aim at sanctioningher for her peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

Calling for the deathpenalty sentence constitutes an extremely dangerous precedent as it is thefirst time the death penalty is called for against a female human rightsdefender in the country, raising fears about possible harsh reprisals againstother women human rights defenders arbitrarily detained.

Actions requested:

Please write to theauthorities in Saudi Arabia, urging them to:

i. Immediately andunconditionally release Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham and end all forms of harassment,including at the judicial level, against her and all detained human rightsdefenders in Saudi Arabia, as their detention is arbitrary since it only aimsat punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;

ii. Ensure Ms. IsraaAl-Ghomgham have unhindered access to her family and lawyers and respect in allcircumstances her right to a fair trial;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrityof Ms. Israa Al-Ghomgham as well as of all detained human rights defenders inSaudi Arabia;

iv. Comply in allcircumstances with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration onHuman Rights Defenders, in particular its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensurein all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and instruments ratifiedby Saudi Arabia.


HisMajesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and Custodianof the two Holy Mosques, Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125;Email:; Twitter: @KingSalman

HisExcellency, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Fax:(via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125; Email:

H.E.Waleed bin Mohammad Al Samaani, Minister of Justice, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,Fax: + 966 11 405 7777; Email:

HisRoyal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz, Minister ofInterior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: + 966 11 401 1111 / + 966 11 401 1944 /+ 966 11 403 1125; Email:

H.E.Adel bin Ahmed El Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: + 966 11 403 0645 ;Email:
• H.E. Abdulaziz Alwasil, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of SaudiArabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 758 0000. Email:
• H.E. Abdulrahman bin Soliman Al-Ahmed, Ambassador, Embassy of Saudi Arabia inBrussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 6468538. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Saudi Arabia inyour respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassiesin Saudi Arabia.


Paris-Geneva, August 22, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is tointervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail:

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 4355 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Ahmad binHussien Al-Matrood, Ali bin Ahmad Aweesheer, Mousa bin Jaafar al-Hashem (IsraaAl-Ghomgham’s husband), Khalid Bin Abed allah al-Ghanem and Moujtaba bin Alial-Mazayan

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