After Torture and Delay the Lawyer, the Saudi Judiciary Sentenced (AlUtal) to Death
European Society for Human Rights Saudi Arabia
|Ali Abdullah AlUtal|
Due to systematic practiced of torture in the Saudi intelligence’s prisons of prisoners of conscience; demonstrators and others, this has given the authority an opportunity to charge a number of them with false accusations.
Based on continuous observation by the European Saudi Society for Human Rights (ESSHR), it seems that detainees have poor possibility of proving their innocence due to the continual violations of legal procedures as:
1. Arbitrary arrest and detention, which mostly done with no prior arrest warrant and done in various ways.
2. Incommunicado detention for long period of time, more than a year in some cases.
3. Various torture methods, physical and psychological, where many detainees still suffer symptoms.
4. Forbidding from the right to counsel, only in late legal procedures. Still, in some cases where the public prosecution demanded death, detainees were denied the right to counsel.
5. Quite a lot of secret trials, or partly, far from the international standards and norms.
All these factors have granted the public prosecution, as in many cases, to claim false accusations and even to accuse them with charges that are not even considered to be crimes. As a result, the judges have been issuing harsh, unfair sentences to the point of death penalty.
On 15/02/2012, Ali Abdullah AlUtal was arrested while he was casually riding motorcycles with his friends. A police car started to chase until it crashed into one of the motorcycle but the rider escaped. Then, he was caught while he was trying to get his motorcycle back, then police start asking him about his friends where AlUtal is among them.
Once AlUtal knew about this, and with a good intentions, he voluntarily decided to go the police station to clear up any misunderstanding about his situation and he was just casually riding motorcycles with his friends and has no connection with the demonstrations. Still, he was arrested immediately and sent to the Investigation prison in Dammam. No prior arrest warrant was issued about AlUtal, yet, he was arrested immediately.
AlUtal was interrogated accompanied by torture in several methods such as electroshock (tazer), beatings with rubber hoses and sticks, kicking, slapping, punching, strappado, moral and religious insult and degrading inhuman treatment, detention in solitary confinement for more than two months in a complete isolation from the outside world without allowing him to have a lawyer or family visits. Consequently, he was physically and psychologically damaged to the point where he became weepy.
Under all these violations, the public prosecutor charged AlUtal with the following:
- Disobeying the Guardian (wali al amr), corruption, disturbing public peace and tranquility, spread chaos, inciting sectarian strife, attempted to murder a policeman and assault, causing riots and obstruction in public roads.
- Purchase and possession of weapons.
- Participate in demonstrations and chanting anti-state and guardian and provoking others.
- Harboring a fugitive who shoot at security men.
And after a series of hearings, with no right to counsel at the beginning, the judge at the SCC sentenced AlUtal (24 years old) to death on June 8th 2014. The SCC did not take into consideration the torture and force confession, therefore and lawfully, it is not valid and the court cannot use AlUtal confession in such a case since this violates legal standard. Specifically, as in Article 15 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Saudi joined in 1997, “Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings”.
We in the ESSHR demand the Saudi government - and urgently – the following:
1. The abolition of the death penalty issued against AlUtal.
2. An immediate release of AlUtal and all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
3. Put an end to the use of torture in detention centers and prosecute responsible officials for fair trials, therefore, achieving fair legal environment of non-impunity.
4. Separation of public prosecutors from the Ministry of the Interior.
5. Reform the judicial system, in accordance with state standards.
Also, ESSHR calls the international community to immediately intervene to protect the AlUtal, who was sentenced to death in an unfair trial, due to the following:
1. Condemn the death penalty against AlUtal, due to the lack of a fair trial.
2. Demanding the Saudi authorities to drop down politically motivated rules and unconditionally release of all political prisoners.
3. Calling the Saudi authorities to prosecute responsible officials in all cases of torture carried out in detention centers in Saudi, especially in the Investigation prisons, either through giving orders, supervision, or knowing about torture.
4. Demand the Saudi government to comply with its commitments to international conventions.