Saudi Arabian authorities should release and refrain from deporting the Sudanese journalist Waleed Aldoud Al-Mekki Al-Hussein, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said today.
Al-Hussein, who is 41 years old and a long term resident in Saudi Arabia, has been detained without charge or access to a lawyer for six weeks and has reportedly been told he will be deported to Sudan where he faces a risk of persecution for his work as a journalist.
Al-Hussein is the founder of Al Rakoba online, a widely read independentSudanese online newspaper known for its political analysis on Sudan. The online newspaper routinely runs stories on human rights issues and analysis critical of the Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Freedom of the press is severely curtailed in Sudan and journalists who cross the “red lines” for reporting set by Sudanese authorities regularly face arbitrary detention and trumped-up charges that carry heavy penalties. If deported to Sudanthere are grounds to believe Al-Hussein would face a real risk of persecution including arbitrary detention, or an unfair trial on serious criminal charges related to his journalistic work.
Al-Hussein was reportedly arrested by Saudi Arabian authorities at his home in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, at around 4pm on 23 July 2015. He was taken to a detention facility in nearby Al Dammam town and interrogated briefly on two occasions about a number of articles recently published in Al Rakoba online. He told family members, who have visited him at least three times since his arrest, that he has not been informed of any charges against him. The detaining authorities reportedly informed him that his detention relates to a request from the Government of Sudan for his deportation. However, he has not seen a formal deportation order, nor has he been informed of the reason for the deportation request.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to grantWaleed Aldoud Al-Mekki Al-Hussein immediate access to a lawyer and release him in the absence of charges consistent with international law. Our organisations call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to uphold their obligations under international law, including under the United Nations Convention against torture, and guarantee that he will not be deported to Sudan or any country where he is at risk of harsh treatment amounting to persecution or torture.
In Kampala, for the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, Katherine Perks (English): +256-775-072-136; or [email protected]
In Kampala, for the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, Mohamed Badawi (English, Arabic): +256-783-693-689; or [email protected].
In Kampala, for the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders’ Project, Clementine de Montjoye (English, French): +256-752-183-305; or[email protected]