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Misguided Allegations in the Saudi response on Canada’s stance demanding the release of the Activists

لقراءته بالعربية اضغط هنا

The European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) followed the comment of the Saudi Foreign Ministry on the Canadian stance in which the latter expressed its concern toward the detentions of activists of civil society and women’s rights.

(ESOHR) noticed many fallacies in the Saudi response. We, in (ESOHR), believe that this statement is a part of a misguided approach used by Saudi Arabia in dealing with the deferent international steps that reflects stances of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia; such as the stances issued by the United Nations or by States like Sweden, Germany and Canada. For example, the ESHOR has reviewed a number of Saudi official responses to the United Nations’ special rapporteurs and noticed that Saudi Arabia didn’t hesitate to submit false and misleading information that is completely not related to what was happening on the ground.

1- The main stance in the Saudi statement focused on describing Canada’s step as interference in its internal affairs. In the context of its rejection of the Canadian stance, it cited by its behavior and referred that it is paying attention “not to interfere in the internal affairs of the States”. Whereas a simple review of its record shows hundreds of examples of its stances related to what is happening in other countries regarding human rights aspects. This argument by which Saudi Arabia is trying to reject the Canadian standing, it practices it repeatedly and routinely, and it rejects from Canada and other countries what it allows itself to over and over.

2- While the countries of the world are celebrating their civil societies, strengthening their position, granting them deferent forms of support, protecting their freedom – which is an inherent right for them- by legal frameworks and considers them as a key part of building the country at various levels, Saudi Arabia in its statement deplores the term “civil society activists” which was stated in the Canadian statement. Thus, it is giving the world an explanation of the persecution it practices against civil society individuals and groups. In fact, it doesn’t recognize them at all, and it believes that its duty to them represented by enmity, exclusion and complete abolition. All it wants from its citizens is an absolute dependence. Adding that it rejects all independence stances and forms.

3- In its statement, Saudi Arabia mentions that the Canadian statement “is completely inaccurate and unjust to the truth”, whilst all that is stated in the Canadian’s brief statement are confirmed information. The descriptions used in the Canadian statement are totally true and reflect the lived reality in Saudi Arabia.

4- Saudi Arabia has expressed in its statement that the activists’ arrests “were carried out by the competent authority, the Public Prosecution” First, we confirm that the prosecution is not independent and is directly linked to the king. This is stated in a royal order issued by King Salman in June 2017. Second, the head of the state security, “the oppressive” established by King Salman in mid-2017, is in charge of most detentions and investigations, which is in a way or another, an expansion of the General Intelligence, in addition to taking some repressive missions which were among the functions of the Ministry of Interior. Third, in case the prosecution was the one who carries out the arrests, then it doesn’t comply with the internal laws in the detention processes, such as presenting a legal detention order. Forth, the saying that they were accused for committing crimes that requires their suspension, is a loose claim and needs a concrete evidence to be proved. Moreover, in its behavior with the activists, Saudi Arabia, relies on “terrorist crimes and its financing system” which contains very loose expressions, that Saudi Arabia – often- drops them on the targeted activists.

5- Saudi Arabia is saying that regular procedures are guaranteed for detainees “their legitimate rights and provided them with all the guarantees during the two stages of investigation and trial”. These , are pure lies, clear false claims, as the detainees in Saudi Arabia are widely deprived of many legal rights and guarantees. For example, the government is targeting the lawyers who try in opinion cases and activists detainees’ cases, such as the lawyer Ibrahim Almudaimeg who was detained in mid-May 2018, the lawyer Abdulaziz Alhassan and the lawyer Taha Alhaji who were compelled to emigrate as a result of their work in pleading and defending detainees. As a result of this intimidation, many lawyers refuse to deal with opinion detainees’ cases, and if the lawyer accepted the defense, he cannot play an active role in defending due to the many restrictions and complexities and due to the lack of independence in judiciary which is often not affected by the lawyers defense to the victims.

6- In its statement, Saudi Arabia speaks about the “kingdom’s regulations and procedures”. We confirm that Saudi Arabia doesn’t respect its internal laws, and it violates its international obligations. Also it commits many abuses against the detainees; some are considered crimes such as torture.

7- Saudi Arabia describes the judiciary as a “judicial authority”, yet it is not an independent authority at all, as the King and his closes could influence it. The internal systems also grant the King wide powers in appointing and dismissing the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, which in turn appoints the judges. This alarmed the Committee Against Torture in the United Nations and it expressed its concern: “over the reports that point out to the lack of independence and impartiality of the judicial authority”, “the State party shall ensure that there is a complete independent and impartial judicial authority, according to the international standards”. In particular, the State party shall introduce reforms on the judicial authority to enable it to work effectively in addressing issues of impunity, redress of victims and due process of law, along with the Convention”. “The Committee expresses its concern about accepting confessions under torture as evidence in the trials” as the judiciary ignores the grievances of the detainees of opinion in being tortured and doesn’t play its role accounting the torturers.

8- Saudi Arabia says: “let Canada know and all other countries that the Kingdom is keen to protect its children more than any”, yet there is no practical evidence to prove its claim. Saudi Arabia is treating the activists by extrajudicial killing, arbitrary execution, torture, detention and travel ban, also by spreading intimidation inside the country and among the activists, keeping them under threat of targeting at any time, Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is depriving citizens from their civil and political freedoms also from many of their legitimate rights. We see that countries including Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and others are granting hundreds if not thousands of female and male Saudi immigrant citizens, the right to political asylum and these countries they are enjoying a lot of rights they have been deprived of in their country, enjoying genuine safety far from murder or torture, or detention or intimidation and are living a good life. These cases prove that Saudi Arabia is trying to misguide through the use of the word children, and that it is far away from the paternal treatment to the citizens, which requires care, dignity and rights, whereas murder, torture and imprisonment are terrible definitions of the meaning of paternity and is not related to the meaning of paternalism.

9- Through the “terrorism crimes and its Saudi financing system” and through the Specialized Criminal Court which is known as the Terrorism Tribunal, Saudi Arabia has undermined many internal and international laws that include human rights; as it justified itself though the terrorism law and court many of the abuses and violations. Also, it has widely fallen behind the internationally known human rights standards.

We, in the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), believe that what is done by Saudi Arabia of eradicating brutally the civil society, its female and male human rights defenders and activists. Saudi Arabia’s reaction toward any encouraging international step to respect human rights, is an integrated action aims to create a sustainable atmosphere to oppress and abuse the people. Since King Salman came to power and under the wide powers that his son the crown prince enjoys, Saudi Arabia is witnessing one of the worst periods in the field of human rights.

We in ESOHRthank the Canadian stances as well as we thank governments or parties or organisations or various civil society groups around the world who showed solidarity previously and we welcome any subsequent solidarity. We also assure that all this is important and influential especially at this time as the Saudi government suppress the people and oppress them by detentions, torture, travel ban, and pledges not to exercise any human rights activities and practices on them various forms of intimidations. The internal policy has no sign of an improvement in the human rights situation, but only signs of fear that the coming is worse.

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