Illustration: Anna Albert

The Right Livelihood Foundation calls for adequate medical care for Saudi Laureate Abdullah al-Hamid

The Right Livelihood Foundation urges Saudi Arabia to provide adequate medical care and ensure the safety of 2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureate Abdullah al-Hamid, who is in critical condition after suffering a stroke in prison last week.

Al-Hamid, a prominent Saudi civil and human rights defender imprisoned for his activism since March 2013, got a stroke last Thursday, April 9, and has been in a coma since. He has finally been transferred to an intensive care unit at a hospital in Riyadh after Saudi authorities had denied him crucial medical treatment for months.

The Right Livelihood Foundation calls on authorities to ensure that al-Hamid gets the medical attention he requires and that his rights to health and security are respected.

The Foundation also denounces al-Hamid’s continued unlawful detention by Saudi authorities, during which he has been tortured and harassed, including by being denied crucial medical attention for his heart problems in the past three months leading to the deterioration of his condition.

Born in 1950, al-Hamid has emerged as a powerful voice for reforming Saudi Arabia’s political system, which is dominated by the Saudi royal family’s totalitarian rule. Al-Hamid, who is a poet and Arabic professor, has written several books on reform in the past 20 years. In 1993, he co-founded the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights, a political advocacy group whose stated objectives include the release of political detainees and accountability for abuses by members of the ruling family.

Due to his activism, he has been imprisoned by Saudi authorities on several occasions. Currently, he is spending an 11-year prison sentence that began in March 2013.

Al-Hamid received the Right Livelihood Award, along with fellow Saudi human rights defenders Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair, in 2018 for his “visionary and courageous efforts, guided by universal human rights principles, to reform the totalitarian political system in Saudi Arabia.”