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«Saudi Arabia HUMAN Denied Dignity RIGHTS Systematic Discrimination and Hostility toward WATCH Saudi Shia Citizens Denied Dignity Systematic ...»

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73 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Muhammad, an Eastern Province Shia, June 24, 2009.

74 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Muhammad, an Eastern Province Shia, June 24, 2009.

75 They are: Ali Ahmad al-Faraj, Amin Husain al-Faraj, Zakariya Sa’ud Al Libad, ‘Ammar Ali Salih al-‘Abd al-Jabbar, Falah Husain Muhammad al-Faraj, ‘Ammar Yusri al-Dahaim, Majid Mustafa ‘Isa Al Shaiban, Muhammad Hasan Ali Al ‘Ammar, Muhammad Faisal Salman al-Faraj, Mirza Abd al-Hadi Ali al-Banawi, Nuh Abdallah Ali al-Faraj, Nuh Ali Salih al-‘Abd al-Jabbar, Fadhil Makki Hasan al-Munasif, ‘Alawi al-Sayyid Muhammad Hashim, Ahmad Tahir al-‘Alawi, Muhammad Jamal, Abdullah Muhammad Jamal, Husain Hasan Al Rabi’, Husain Qallaf, Husain al-Ma’yuf, ‘Adil al-Munasif, Murad Abd al-Jabbar.

19 Human Rights Watch | September 2009 whom 18 were held for three months without trial before being released on July 1 (it is unclear how long the other four were detained). At this writing, another detainee not from ‘Awwamiyya but arrested in connection with protests there, Kamil al-Ahmad, a Shia political activist with a history of arrests, remains in detention at the intelligence detention center in Dammam to which he was transferred on June 1.76 One ‘Awwamiyya resident released earlier told Human Rights Watch that they had received good treatment in prison.77 Of those arrested in connection with the Safwa demonstrations, eight were minors: Sajjad Ali al-Subaiti, age 15, Adnan Muhammad Al ‘Arif, 15, Muhammad Ali al-Safwani, 14, Hasan Muhammad al-Sadiq, 14, and Qasim Muhammad Al Musa, 14, who were detained for up to three weeks, and Abdullah Muhammad al-Khalaf, 15, Mustafa Muhammad al-Fardan, 15, and Ahmad Muhammad al-Musawi, 16, who were detained for two months. In addition at least two children were arrested following the sermon by al-Nimr in ‘Awwamiyya in March: Ali Ahmad al-Faraj, 16, and Amin Husain al-Faraj, 17; they remained in detention for three months.78 On May 27, 2009, the police in Safwa reportedly summoned six minors who had been released earlier on bail from a juvenile detention home, in preparation for trial.79 It is unclear whether a trial took place, or is still in prospect.

Saudi executive authorities at times issue sentences without trial, or judicial authorities issue verdicts without trials in person.80 Both are in violation of Saudi law.81 Tawfiq al-Saif, a prominent Shia intellectual, told Human Rights Watch in August 2009 that he is unaware of any trials of persons released after being arrested over the clashes in Medina or protests in Safwa and ‘Awwamiyya, but that some released from Medina had to sign “routine” papers to close their files.82 A Shia in the Eastern Province who has collected information on arrests of Shia in the aftermath of the Baqi’ events by meeting or speaking to the families involved told 76 “Releasing the Bulk of Prisoners From Awamia, But What about Kamel Alahmad?” Human Rights First in Saudi Arabia news release, July 1, 2009; and Human Rights Watch email correspondence with Ali Al Ahmad, director, Gulf Institute, and the brother of Kamil, August 5, 2009.

77 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Muhammad, an Eastern Province Shia, June 24, 2009.

78 “Saudi Arabia: Incommunicado Detention/ Fear of Torture or other Ill treatment/ Possible Prisoners of Conscience,” Amnesty International Urgent Action MDE 23/006/2009, March 20, 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE23/006/2009/en/00215e92-497a-457b-8ce4e01cb9d795f/mde230062009en.html (accessed August 19, 2009). Human Rights Watch compiled the names of these minors independently from Amnesty International.

79 Human Rights Watch email communication with Zaid, an Eastern Province Shia, June 1, 2009.

80 Executive authorities reportedly have issued sentences for persons held by the intelligence forces. Human Rights Watch interviews with former detainees and with families of detainees, December 2006. Executive authorities also issue sentences following adjudication of guilt by judicial authorities, especially in drugs and weapons cases. Human Rights Watch interviews with two former prisoners, Riyadh and Damman, December 2006. Their verdicts specified that sentencing is “up to the ruler.” 81 Law of Criminal Procedure, Umm al-Qura Newspaper, issue 3867, November 3, 2001, art. 3.

82 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Tawfiq al-Saif, Eastern Province Shia intellectual, August 5, 2009.

Denied Dignity 20 Human Rights Watch on June 24 that Murtada al-Arbash had been summoned a few days earlier to come to the police station where he was informed he had been convicted in his absence for his role in the events at the Baqi’ cemetery, and was forced by the police to sign his sentence, which was a prison term of 15 years and lashes. Abdullah Matrud, another freed detainee, also reportedly received a summons at the same time to receive a sentence, but did not obey it.83 The Saudi Shia news website Rasid reported that execution of the sentences was suspended.84 83 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Haitham, an Eastern Province Shia, June 24, 2009.

84 ‫اﻟﺴﻠﻄﺎت اﻟﺴﻌﻮدﻳﺔ ﺗﺼﺪر‬ “The Saudi Authorities Issue Sentences of Prison and Lashes for Those Accused in Baqi’ Events [ ‫ ”,]أﺣﻜﺎﻣﺎ ﺑﺎﻟﺴﺠﻦ واﻟﺠﻠﺪ ﺑﺤﻖ اﻟﻤﺘﻬﻤﻴﻦ ﻓﻲ أﺣﺪاث اﻟﺒﻘﻴﻊ‬Rasid News Website, June 24, 2009, http://www.rasid.com/artc.php?id=30068 (accessed June 24, 2009).





21 Human Rights Watch | September 2009 VI. Mosque Closures and Arrest of Religious Leaders At the same time that the attention of many Saudi Shia was focused on effecting the release of their coreligionists arrested in Medina, Safwa, and ‘Awwamiyya, Saudi authorities intensified their campaign to close Shia mosques and to arrest Shia religious leaders. Saudi authorities have closed three Shia prayer buildings that are not officially mosques. In both Khobar and Ahsa’ the authorities have arrested scores of Shia religious leaders.

As noted in the previous chapter, in March 2009, after the Baqi’ cemetery events, authorities effectively attempted to impose a ban on communal Shia prayers.

Khobar On July 1, 2009, the authorities released one of the prayer leaders from Khobar, Abdullah Muhanna, from that city’s general prison. They had arrested him on May 25 for refusing to sign a pledge to close the private prayer building adjacent to his house, to which Shia came to perform communal prayers. On July 15 police in Riyadh arrested another Khobar prayer leader, Zuhair Bu-Salih, in order to pressure his father, Husain, to sign a pledge to stop holding communal prayers in Khobar’s al-Thuqba Shia prayer hall, which he runs.85 There are no Shia mosques in Khobar, despite having a sizeable Shia population. A member of Muhanna’s family told Human Rights Watch while his relative was still in detention, “My neighbor is building a mosque right now, with permission. He is Sunni. We Shia have no mosques, and now they want to prohibit us from praying in our house.”86 Also in Khobar, the authorities in mid-May 2009 threatened leaders of the Ismailis with closure of their only mosque there, which is 17 years old.87 Saudi authorities in June 2008 had closed three Shia private prayer buildings in Khobar, some in existence for 30 years, on orders of the Eastern Province governorate after briefly arresting their owners and some Shia who frequented them. Following appeals to Crown Prince Sultan, however, the governorate had allowed them to reopen in November 2008.

In addition to Abdullah Muhanna and Zuhair Husain Bu-Salih, Human Rights Watch has collected the names of eight Shia religious leaders in Khobar whom the authorities between 85 Human Rights Watch email communication with Zaid, an Eastern Province Shia, July 17, 2009.

86 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with a relative of Abdullah al-Muhanna, June 24, 2009.

87 Human Rights Watch email communications with Haitham, Zaid, Sadiq, Isma’il, and Ibrahim, Eastern Province Shias, June 2009.

Denied Dignity 22 2008 and July 2009 threatened, summoned, or detained in connection with places of worship they were attending or hosting. They are Hashim bin al-Sayyid, Ali Nasir al-Salman, Al-Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Nasir, Shaikh Yusif Mazini—who led prayers at Husain BuSalih’s Thuqba hall—Ahmad Ibrahim al-Nubat, Husain al-Rashid, Muhammad Abu Salih, and Musa al-Amir.

Ahsa’ In the southern part of the Eastern Province, Ahsa’, the authorities have for years arrested Shia prayer leaders and pressured Shia to close private facilities providing community services, be they religious or cultural in nature.88 Between roughly 2001 and 2002 (1421 and 1423 hijri), local governors in the Eastern Province punished at least 60 Shia with extrajudicial sentences of one week to one month in prison for allowing religious recitation in their house or other worship-related activities. In 2004, 14 Shia received such treatment.89 So far in 2009 the executive authorities have detained 20 Shia from Ahsa’ for periods ranging between one week and one month: 15 of these were detained for holding private religious gatherings, and three for selling articles used in Shia religious ceremonies, such as clothing for `Ashura’ or confectionery for Qarqi’un. The remaining two were detained for having signs with religious symbols; one of them is Shaikh Husain al-Hababi, who spent a week in prison in May for putting up a sign welcoming home Shaikh Jawad al-Hadhari, the Shia scholar who had been stabbed during the incidents at the Baqi’ cemetery in Medina in February (see chapter IV).

88 Human Rights Watch email communication with Sadiq, Isma’il, and Ibrahim, Eastern Province Shias, June 2009.

89 “List with Names of Shi’a Persons Who Have Been Detained for Religious Reasons,” 2005 (identity of compiler withheld by Human Rights Watch). No data is available for 2003 or after 2004.

23 Human Rights Watch | September 2009 VII. Relevant International Standards International law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion and protects the rights of religious and other minorities. The most important international human rights treaties that spell out the meaning and extent of these prohibitions and protections include the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD),90 the Convention against Discrimination in Education,91 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).92 In addition, the United Nations has passed declarations that articulate human rights standards and best practices in matters of discrimination. These are the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (1981),93 the UNGA Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities (1993),94 and the UNESCO Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice (1978).95 The 1978 UNESCO declaration declares “[a]ny distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, ethnic or national origin or religious intolerance motivated by racist considerations” to be incompatible with human rights.96 The Convention against Discrimination in Education, in article 1, also includes religious factors among prohibited discrimination. The UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief declares that “discrimination between human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity.”97 90 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), adopted December 21, 1965, G.A.

Res. 2106 (XX), annex, 20 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 14) at 47, U.N. Doc. A/6014 (1966), 660 U.N.T.S. 195, entered into force January 4, 1969. Saudi Arabia acceded to the ICERD on October 23, 1997.

91 Convention against Discrimination in Education, 429 U.N.T.S. 93, entered into force May 22, 1962. Saudi Arabia acceded to the convention on August 17, 1973.

92 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted November 20, 1989, G.A. Res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No.

49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989), entered into force September 2, 1990. Saudi Arabia acceded to the CRC on February 25, 1996.

93 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, G.A. res. 36/55, 36 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 51) at 171, U.N. Doc. A/36/684 (1981).

94 Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities, G.A. res. 47/135, annex, 47 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 210, U.N. Doc. A/47/49 (1993).

95 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1982/2/Add.1, annex V (1982). Adopted and proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at its twentieth session, on 27 November 1978.

96 Ibid., art. 3.

97 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, art. 3.

Denied Dignity 24 The prohibition against discrimination applies to the enjoyment of all fundamental rights, including the rights to development, work, and access to justice. States are bound to

guarantee equal access for everyone to “[e]conomic, social and cultural rights, in particular:



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