Abdullah Al-Hamid (left), with fellow 2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureates Waleed Abu Al-Khair (centre) and Mohammad Fahad Al-Qahtani (right). Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Ahmed al-Osaimi (Blurred from Original)

UN experts request answers from Saudi Arabia about Abdullah al-Hamid’s death

News 11.08.2020

UN experts have recently published a letter sent to Saudi Arabia on June 2 addressing the situation of five women human rights defenders as well as the death of 2018 Right Livelihood Laureate Abdullah al-Hamid, who passed away on April 24 after suffering a stroke in prison.

The letter, signed by six Special Rapporteurs and the Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls, expressed grave concern over the lack of medical care from prison authorities and “that the delay to Mr. al-Hamid’s treatment may have arbitrarily deprived him of his right to life.” They requested the Saudi authorities to explain why al-Hamid’s life-saving heart surgery had been delayed, why he could not stay in the medical facility until the treatment and whether the country has since duly investigated the circumstances of his passing.

The experts also expressed concern surrounding the continuing detention of women human rights defenders Loujain al-Hathloul, Nouf Abdulaziz, Mayaa al-Zahrani, Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah, whose trials had been postponed indefinitely in March and some of whose whereabouts remain unknown.

The Right Livelihood Foundation welcomes the letter and all the concerns expressed by the experts as well as their call the release those detained without sufficient legal basis, including human rights defenders. We also reiterate our calls to the Saudi authorities, previously made at the end of April, to:

  • Release all individuals currently detained for acts of peaceful criticism or human rights advocacy, including gender equality claims and provide them with compensation and rehabilitation for the harm suffered;
  • Promptly implement accepted recommendations pertaining to Fair Trial & Criminal Justice as well as Civil Liberties during the third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review;
  • Continue working towards the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Finally, the Foundation deplores that to this day, the Saudi authorities have not responded to the letter and urges them to account for their neglect of al-Hamid’s health, which ultimately resulted in his death.

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