ACPRA co-founder Abdullah Al Hamid arbitrarily detained since March 2013

ACPRA co-founder Abdullah Al Hamid arbitrarily detained since March 2013

Following an unfair trial before the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) on March 9, 2013, human rights defender Abdullah Al Hamid was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Convicted on charges that stemmed directly from exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association, Al Hamid’s sentence was upheld on appeal in January 2014.
Latest Updates
October 9, 2019: Ahead of the 10-year anniversary of ACPRA’s founding, MENA Rights Group and ALQST submitted 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.
January 2014: Sentence upheld by the SCC’s court of appeal.
March 9, 2013: Sentenced to 11 years in prison by the SCC and imprisoned the same day.
June 11, 2012: Trial commences before the SCC.
March 2012: Beginning of the investigation into Al Hamid’s activities.

Dr Abdullah Al Hamid is a 69-year-old human rights defender, writer and founding member of ACPRA*, who has been repeatedly subjected to acts of reprisals for his human rights work since 1993.

Saudi authorities began investigating Al Hamid’s ACPRA-related activities in March 2012. On June 11, 2012, his trial started in Riyadh before the SCC where he faced charges including: “breaking allegiance with the ruler”; “forming an unlicensed organization”; “questioning the integrity of officials”; “seeking to disrupt security and inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations”; and “disseminating false information to foreign groups”, a charge which relates to expressing opinions on human rights violations in Saudi Arabia to international human rights organizations and media.

On March 9, 2013, the SCC sentenced Al Hamid to 11 years in prison. The court also ordered him to serve the remaining six years of a previous sentence from May 2005, which he had been pardoned for earlier, and also sentenced him to a travel ban of 11 years.

He appealed the decision on May 28, 2013, but in January 2014, the Court of Appeal confirmed the sentence.

He is currently detained in Malaz 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.