Ahmad Al Hossan arrested as a minor, denied due process guarantees and sentenced to 44 years in prison following unfair trial

Ahmad Al Hossan arrested as a minor, denied due process guarantees and sentenced to 44 years in prison following unfair trial

Al Hossan was arrested as a minor and sentenced to 44 years in prison on terrorism charges on the sole basis of a coerced confession. His trial, which failed to meet fair trial guarantees, took place more than 11 years after his arrest. He has been held in solitary confinement for the vast majority of the 15 years he has spent in prison, and he was held incommunicado for over six years. In May 2019, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an Opinion on his case, calling on the authorities to immediately release him and accord him an enforceable right to compensation.
Latest Updates
May 2, 2019: UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issues Opinion No. 22/2019 calling on the authorities to immediately release Al Hossan and accord him an enforceable right to compensation.
November 1, 2018: MENA Rights Group submits case to UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
October 20, 2014: First and only trial session held before the Specialised Criminal Court. Al Hossan is sentenced to 44 years in prison.
February 2004: Al Hossan is transferred to Al Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh.
June 16, 2003: Al Hossan arrested from Hadibyah Mosque on Old Mecca Jeddah Road by the Mabahith Security Forces and taken to the Mabahith Prison in Mecca.

On June 16, 2003, Ahmad Al Hossan – 16 years-old at the time – was arrested from Hadibyah Mosque in Mecca by the Mabahith security forces. They did not present an arrest warrant nor give any reason for his arrest. 

The security forces then took Al Hossan to the Mabahith Prison where, in January 2004, he was forced under torture to sign and fingerprint a self-incriminating statement that he was not allowed to read beforehand.

In February 2004, Al Hossan was transferred to Al Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh. He was held incommunicado between July 21, 2007 and 2014 and was only moved out of solitary confinement for very brief periods between 2005 and 2008.

More than 11 years after his arrest, on October 20, 2014, Al Hossan was informed of the charges against him for the first time in a closed hearing before the Specialised Criminal Court. They included “hosting individuals who have strayed in his house” and “planning with them terrorist attacks”. Al Hossan was denied access to a lawyer throughout his interrogation, custody and trial. During the hearing, he was sentenced to 44 years in prison.

While in Al Ha’ir Prison, Al Hossan has been forcibly injected with an unknown sedative on at least eight occasions, leaving him temporarily paralysed. In addition, he suffers from chronic neck pain due to beatings, which have made it impossible for him to walk. Al Hossan’s mental health has deteriorated, with his speech becoming incomprehensible. Despite this, he has been denied regular and adequate medical care.

Al Hossan denies all the charges against him and a number of complaints have been lodged on his behalf, including with the Ministry of Interior and the Saudi Human Rights Association. In 2013, a request for release on the basis of his health was granted by Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef, but to no avail.  

Al Hossan has been denied his right to appeal his sentence.