Saudi Arabia
06.07.18
Urgent Interventions

Incommunicado detention of WHRD Hatoon Al Fassi

SAU 004 / 0718 / OBS 093

Incommunicado detention /

Judicial harassment

Saudi Arabia

July 6, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, apartnership of FIDH and the World Organisation AgainstTorture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation inSaudi Arabia.

Descriptionof the situation:

TheObservatory has been informed by ALQST about the arbitrary arrest and incommunicadodetention of Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi, aprominent Saudi advocate for women’s right, including women’s participation tomunicipal elections and women’s right to drive. Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi is alsoassociated professor of women’s history at King Saud University in Riyadh.

Accordingto the information received, Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi was arrested on June 24, 2018.The circumstances of her arrest remain however unclear, and she has since beendetained in an undisclosed location.


Prior to her arrest, Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi had stated that she was under a travelban since June 19, 2018.

Ms.Hatoon Al Fassi was the first woman to drive since the driving ban was officiallylifted on June 24, 2018. Additionally, she was set to be interviewed by Frenchmedia France 2 to talk about the liftof the driving ban shortly after June 24, 2018.

TheObservatory condemns in the strongest terms the arrest and incommunicadodetention of Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi and urges the Saudi authorities to immediatelydisclose her whereabouts as well as to ensure unhindered access to her family andlawyers.

TheObservatory further recalls that ahead of the official lift of the driving banthe Saudi authorities launched a crackdown on human rights defenders in thecountry. As of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Ms. Nouf Abdulaziz,Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani, Ms. Emanal-Nafjan, Ms. Azizaal-Youssef, Ms. Loujainal-Hathloul, Mr. Mohammedal-Rabiah, Mr. Mohamed al-Bejadi, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Mesha'al and Mr. Ibrahimal-Mudaimeegh remained detained[1]. While pro-governmental mediaoutlets reported that they have been arrested under vague accusations of“suspicious contacts with foreign entities” and “financial support to enemiesoverseas”, no formal charges have yet been reportedly pressed against them. Moreover,they are reportedly all detained in solitary confinement, without access totheir lawyers and they could only speak with their families once or twice sincetheir arrests.

The Observatory urges the Saudi authorities to release theabove-mentioned human rights defenders immediately and unconditionally, and to putan end to all acts of harassment against them as well as all human rightsdefenders in Saudi Arabia as thiswave of arrests and arbitrary detentions, only seems to aim at sanctioningpeaceful and legitimate human rights activities in particular in defence ofwomen’s human rights.


Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Saudi Arabia asking them to:

i. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi, Ms. Nouf Abdulaziz, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani, Ms. Eman al-Nafjan, Ms. Aziza al-Youssef, Ms.Loujain al-Hathloul, Mr. Mohammed al-Rabiah, Mr. Mohamed al-Bejadi, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Mesha'al and Mr. Ibrahim al-Mudaimeegh as well as of alldetained human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia;

ii. Immediately disclose Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi, Ms. NoufAbdulaziz, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani and Mr. Mohamed al-Bejadi’s whereabouts;

iii. Ensure all detained human rightsdefenders have unhindered access to their family and lawyers;

iv. Immediately andunconditionally release Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi. Ms.Nouf Abdulaziz, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani, Ms. Eman al-Nafjan,Ms. Aziza al-Youssef, Ms. Loujain al-Hathloul, Mr. Mohammed al-Rabiah, Mr. Mohamed al-Bejadi, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Mesha'al and Mr. Ibrahim al-Mudaimeeghand all detained human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, astheir detention is arbitrary since it only aims at punishing them for theirlegitimate human rights activities;

v. Put an end to all formsof harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Hatoon Al Fassi, Ms. Nouf Abdulaziz, Ms. Mayya Al-Zahrani, Ms. Eman al-Nafjan, Ms. Aziza al-Youssef, Ms.Loujain al-Hathloul, Mr. Mohammed al-Rabiah, Mr. Mohamed al-Bejadi, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Mesha'al and Mr. Ibrahim al-Mudaimeegh and all human rights defenders in the country so they are able to carry outtheir work without unjustified hindrance and fear of reprisal;

vi. Comply in all circumstances with all theprovisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, inparticular its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

vii. More generally, ensure in all circumstances therespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance withinternational human rights standards and instruments.

Addresses:

· His Majesty, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia andCustodian of the two Holy Mosques, Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11403 3125; Email: info@moi.gov.sa; Twitter: @KingSalman

· His Excellency, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of SaudiArabia, Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior) +966 11 403 3125; Email:info@moi.gov.sa

· H.E. Waleed bin Mohammad Al Samaani, Minister of Justice, Kingdom ofSaudi Arabia, Fax: + 966 11 405 7777; Email: info@moj.gov.sa

· His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz,Minister of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fax: + 966 11 401 1111 / + 96611 401 1944 / + 966 11 403 1125; Email: info@moi.gov.sa

· H.E. Adel bin Ahmed El Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: + 96611 403 0645 ; Email: info@mofa.gov.sa

· H.E. Abdulaziz Alwasil, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom ofSaudi Arabia to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22758 00 00. Email: saudiamission@bluewin.ch

· H.E. Abdulrahman bin Soliman Al-Ahmed, Ambassador, Embassy of SaudiArabia in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 6468538. Email: beemb@mofa.gov.sa

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Saudi Arabia inyour respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, July 6, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to theprotection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support intheir time of need. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanismimplemented by international civil society.

[1] See the Observatory Urgent Appeal SAU 003 / 0518 / OBS 073.2 publishedon June 21, 2018.

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