Amnesty International slammed Thursday the Saudi Arabi Kingdom for interrogating and intimidating four founding members of a nascent human rights group in their attempt to get their organization off the ground.
According to the international group, the four men who founded the independent Union for Human Rights in late March have been called in for questioning by the Saudi Arabian authorities and threatened with further interrogation.
“They remain at risk of being detained at any time”, it added.
Abdullah Modhi al-Attawi, Mohammad Aeid al-Otaibi, Abdullah Faisal al-Harbi and Mohammad Abdullah al-Otaibi were charged with founding and publicizing an unlicensed organization as well as launching websites without authorization.
“None of the charges against these four men relates to an internationally
recognizable crime, and the irony is that it was precisely because of their attempt to formally register the organization that the authorities clamped down on them,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities must stop this repression, remove any arbitrary barriers to the organization’s registration and allow the activists to continue with their legitimate human rights work”.
Saudi Arabia lacks clear laws about how to establish a non-governmental organization.
Since March 2013, on behalf of the new Union for Human Rights, the four activists attended court sessions of other prominent activists and issued reports and public statements about ongoing human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.
“The way the Union for Human Rights’ founders are being dealt with is particularly striking given the efforts they have made to engage constructively with the authorities and to refrain from what the government might consider provocative language”, said Luther.