Saudi Arabia: Incommunicado detention/fear of torture

ham At least 10 men, including the seven named above, were arrested in the cities
of Jeddah and Madinah on 3 February. They are held incommunicado and are at
risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Amnesty International believes that
they may have been detained solely for their peaceful activities in defence of
human rights.

They are reportedly held in the offices of the General Intelligence Service
(al-Mabahith al-‘Amma) in Jeddah. Relatives of some of the men reportedly asked
the General Intelligence Service to let them see the men, but have not yet been
able to do so.

The Ministry of the Interior is reported to have issued a statement claiming
the detainees had been arrested because they were collecting money to "help
terrorism". However, according to other sources they were targeted because they
were active as human rights defenders and advocates of peaceful political
change. Some of them had been detained before because of their work in defence
of human rights.

The Saudi Arabian authorities regularly hold detainees incommunicado, when they
are frequently tortured and otherwise ill-treated. This can last for months or
years, often until a confession is obtained.

In March 2004 a group of reformists signed a petition calling for changes to
the system of government. Some members of this group were arrested, including
Sulieman al-Rushudi and Al-Sharif Saif Al-Ghalib, but these two were released
after some weeks. Others were held for much longer, and were adopted as
prisoners of conscience. They were eventually released in 2005.

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