The arrests of many clerics, intellectuals and media figures since the evening of Tuesday, September 12, 2017 in Saudi Arabia, clearly reflect a campaign against all opponents of the policies of the authorities. The imprisonement of both writer and economist Essam Zamil, Dr. Mustafa Hassan, and journalist Fahad al-Sunaidi , Dr. Salman al-Awda, al-Qarni, and many others whom Our organisation does not know where they are detained, despite our efforts to find out their whereabouts.
More worrying was the human rights situation that has been escalating. Last Saturday, the authorities arrested several eminent personalities, including current and former emirs and ministers, and prominent businessmen on charges of corruption.
We at AFD international understand the anti-corruption measures, and the Kingdom has the right to take measures to fight corruption and people who were involved when the legal procedures have been respected and all the necessary guarantees in accountability and prosecution have been provided. The rapid establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the issuance of arrest and detention orders on the same day cast doubt on the respect for the legal measures involved and reinforce our grave concern about this situation and the complications of its subsequent development.
After our assessment of the accelerated human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, we announce:
Our concern that this move would be to strengthen the grip and powers of the Crown Prince, the direct supervisor of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
We are afraid that these campaigns will be the background of settling political accounts for the purpose of avenging all opponents, and thrash every area of freedom of expression.
The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, intellectuals and media pundits.
The recent arrests are a kind of selectivity in the fight against corruption, resulting in flawed and incomplete justice.
We call on the judicial authorities to open an independent and impartial investigation into the killing of the deputy governor of the Asia region and other officials in the crash of a helicopter south of Saudi Arabia on the Yemeni border.
Finally, we hold the Saudi authorities responsible for the safety and security of all political prisoners in their prisons and detention centers, and we call upon them to enable them to be entitled to a fair trial in accordance with international and national laws.
Middle East and North Africa Department
5 November 2017