الاثنين، 24 فبراير، 2014

Torture (forced nudity), Al-Damen in the Saudi General Directorate of Investigation’s prison

By European Saudi Society for Human Rights
08/02/2014








Nine days away from the third anniversary since the start of the peaceful protests in the eastern province in Saudi. The 17th of February of 2011 is considered to be the actual launch where protests initially demanded release of three prisoners, the activists Ramzi Al-Jamal; Mohammed Al-Lubad and Munir Al-Jassas [1] , these demands escalated and even broaden but overall the main demand is the release of 9 prisoners [2] spent 6522 days as the date of this report, specifically since 1996.
The government reaction to these demands was to (arrest 976 people, where 241 are still under arrest) [3] between investigation, trial and spending the duration. People from various fields were arrested included clerks, academics and activists in different fields as human rights; social; cultural, literal and artistic. Also, due to the random arrest, many people have been arrested, even though they are not activists nor linked to any activity related to the legitimate demands. Furthermore, in term of the government reaction, killing 18 years old Ahmed Ali Al-Mslab in 05/09/2013 [4] and 78 [5] recoreded injuries caused by the Saudi force’s live ammunition show and represent the most prominent image of excessive force againest public demands, in addition to the practice of torture on detainees in prison [6] , unfair trials, harsh sentences up to 30 years, firing from jobs and banned from traveling without specifying a period, at a time where security presence by heavy machinery and armored checkpoints that surround the province of Qatif causing instability and rising harassment that have nothing to do with the security operation’s procedure.

Arbitrary arrest:

Mohammed Al-Damen, an example of the humiliatiog
form of torture in the Saudi of Saudi intelligence’s prisons
From the King Fahd Causeway, bridging Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, the 24 years old Mohammed Al-Damen, with his wife, was arrested on his way to Bahrain on Tuesday 06/04/2013. On the first border checkpoint, the border officer asked Al-Damen to check with the office due to an error in his ID, while his wife was waiting in the car. Al-Damen was supprisingly told that he is wanted to the Saudi security and he is under arrest, and then he was asked to contact anybody to drive his wife back where one of his family members arrived after his wife spent four hours waiting by herself. Al-Damen’s family spent 10 days having no clue where he was, unitll finding out by chance that he was in the General Directorate of Investigate’s prison in Dammam, after a month and 17 days Al-Damen was transferred to a group inmates room where also his family was allowed visit for the first time.

Torture and Health Condition:
Al-Damen spent 298 days until the date of this report, where he experienced torture in the first moments of his arrival, specifically, 8 officers severely fist-punched, kicked, and verbally insulted with racial, sectarian and degrading words.
Al-Damen suffered from torturing where it is common practice in the General Directorate of Investigate’s prison, but additionally this time, Al-Damen was forced to be nude during torture, which is somehow uncommon and also violates and prohibited the Islamic sharia, which is mentioned 19 times in the fundamental system of government of Saudi Arabia, as well as such an act violates the custom and disgracing this behavior.
Al-Damen was hung up, A form of torture in which the hands are tied behind a person's back and they are lifted off the ground by a rope tied to their wrists, for two days with no food and suffering from other forms cruelty and severe torture. As he hung up, Al-Damen was forced to make a phone call to his family in such a bad psychological condition and also was initially threatened not to mention anything about torture. He was tortured to the point where he was disallowed from using the toilet, forcing him involuntarily to dispose in himself while he was hung up.
As a result, the torture was taken into another level where he was taken to another room and was electrocuted in the bottom of his feet, shoulders and other parts of the body plus being punched and kicked. He was forced to confess participating in protests and using weapons, consequently, Al-Damen confessed, although he has neither protested nor used weapons.
Due to this long detention and torture, Al-Damen suffered:
Psychologically: he was in bad condition, especially during the torturing period, where he started talking to himself in a solitary confinement, he later was given medications.
Physically: torture left visible marks caused by handcuffs and leg cuff, where he was sent to the prison hospital more than once.
Financially: he was the financial source for his family, they are living in a rented apartment. He is the only male with two other female siblings, his mother is unable to work due to health issues. Beside supporting his family, Al-Damen is responsible for a car payment and his marriage loan.
Sometimes an amount of $534=2002 SR is given, but it is not enough to cover his family needs plus it is not given every single month. Al-Damen wrote several letters to prison administration asking them to either pay his financial obligations or release him so he can deal with it, but no answer.
Al-Damen is still exposed to various violations now and then. Recently, his family was disallowed to visit for a period of two months, where Al-Damen then started a hunger strike lasted for two weeks and successfully re-allowed family visit. The prison administration justified their act by stating that the kids with the family were too noisy. During the period of two months, Al-Damen was on several investigation session again, but this time the questions were not related to his arrest nor the chargers.

Trial:
After nearly two weeks since his arrest,  Al-Damen was sent to the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh to verify his declaration of guilt, which was forced confessions  under torture, and then sent back to the Dammam’s prison where he was put in a solitary confinement again to complete a period of a month and 17 days as above, his family was allowed to visit after many attempts. After more than 8 months since the arrest, Al-Damen was transferred to Riyadh recently, where will be held the first meeting on 13/02/2014.

Violations:
What happened to Al-Damen represents clear violations of many domestic laws (the prison system and detention issued 1978 –Law of Criminal Procedure issued 2013...), and international treaties (Convention against Torture - Arab Charter Human rights...), where many articles clearly condemn and opposes such a behavior used by officials in prison, investigations and trial.
Torture is prohibited in all forms according to domestic and international laws and statements obtained under torture is illegal, hence, using such a statement in court is illegal.
We in the European Saudi Society for Human Rights (ESSHR) demand the immediate release of Al-Damen, and ensure his physical and psychological integrity, we also call in accordance with the recognized law for an immediate, fair and comprehensive investigation about torture and violations of Al-Damen’s case. Also ensuring that he gets the necessary healthcare fully paid by the government since it caused by the unlawful torture and violations during the arrest period and allowing Al-Damen’s family to have a lawyer immediately.  
SSHR calls the local and international human rights organizations for an urgent intervention and immediate stop to the arbitrary arrests and the torture by Saudi authorities, which taken against prisoners of conscience, and human rights activists.



[1] Saudi authorities release three of the Shiite detainees, Rasid News Network http://www.rasid.com/?act=artc&id=42965
[2] Forgotten Prisoners, a report by Rasid News Network https://www.rasid.com/?act=artc&id=1921
[3] List of prisoners of Qatif and Ahsa, a report by Center for Justice and Human Rights, 03/02/2014
[4] The Martyr young Ahmad Almslab and the security mission on a number of houses of the list of twenty-three, a report by the European Society for Human Rights Arabia  http://esshright.blogspot.de/2013/09/blog-post.html
[5] List detainees Qatif and Ahsa, a report by Al Adala Center for Human Rights, 03/02/2014
[6] The European Saudi Society for Human Rights covered several cases of tortures including:
More than 269 days of torture and arbitrary detention of a young Salman http://esshright.blogspot.de/2013/10/269-02102013-06012013-01101993.html
Tortured him until strangled, (Al-Qallaf) in the prisons of Saudi intelligence http://esshright.blogspot.de/2013/11/15112013-23091997-4-1.html

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