ACPRA co-founder Abdulkareem Al Khoder arbitrarily detained since 2013

ACPRA co-founder Abdulkareem Al Khoder arbitrarily detained since 2013

Human rights defender Abdulkareem Al Khoder was sentenced by the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) on October 19, 2015 to 10 years in prison, followed by a 10-year travel ban. He was convicted on the basis of charges that stemmed directly from the exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association.

Al Khoder is a Saudi human rights defender and co-founder of ACPRA*. He is a former professor of comparative jurisprudence in the Faculty of Islamic Jurisprudence at Al Qassim University.

In January 2013, Al Khoder was tried before the Criminal Court in Buraydah. He was charged with a number of offences, including “disobeying the ruler”; “inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations”; “harming the image of the State by disseminating false information to foreign groups”, and “taking part in founding an unlicensed organization”.

On April 24, 2013, he was detained at his fourth trial hearing held, when he refused to enter the courtroom after the judge blocked a group of women from accessing the court to observe his trial.

On June 24, 2013, Al Khoder was found guilty of the above charges and sentenced by the Criminal Court in Buraydah to eight years in prison and a 10-year travel ban. On January 6, 2014, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.

On October 19, 2015, he was sentenced by the SCC to 10 years in prison, followed by a 10-year travel ban.

He is currently being held in Buraydah criminal prison.

*The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) is a human rights organisation founded on October 12, 2009, which filed local lawsuits against the Ministry of Interior and reported human rights violations to the UN Human Rights Council and the Special Procedures. The organisation peacefully advocated for a constitutional monarchy, a universally elected parliament, an independent judiciary and for the protection of fair trial rights in the country.

Despite the association’s efforts to register with the authorities, it was never granted an official licence to operate. ACPRA was banned by a court decision dated April 9, 2013, which ordered the organisation’s dissolution following an arbitrary process that could not be challenged.

Timeline

October 9, 2019: MENA Rights Group and ALQST submit case to Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association ahead of the 10-year anniversary of ACPRA.
October 19, 2015: Sentenced by the SCC to 10 years in prison, followed by a 10-year travel ban.
January 6, 2014: The court of appeal of the SCC orders a retrial.
June 24, 2013: Sentenced by the Buraydah’s Criminal Court to eight years in prison and a 10-year travel ban.
April 24, 2013: Detained at his fourth trial hearing.
January 2013: Beginning of the trial before Buraydah’s Criminal Court.

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