2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven

Saudi Arabia

1244. By letter dated 2 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases.

1245. Muhammad al-Dawsari, Sa’id al-Subay’i and Muhammad al-Hadithi were reportedly sentenced to 1,500 lashes each, in addition to 15 years’ imprisonment in June 2001. The floggings were scheduled to be carried out at a rate of 50 lashes every six months for the whole duration of the 15 years. They were allegedly convicted in connection with drug charges.

1246. Abdel Moti Abdel Rahman Mohammad, an Egyptian national was reportedly subjected to forcible surgical removal of his left eye at King Fahd Hospital in Medina in August 2000. It is alleged that the operation was carried out as a judicial punishment of Qisas after he was found guilty of disfiguring Shahata Ajami Mahmoud, another Egyptian national, by throwing acid at his face and damaging his left eye.

Urgent appeals

1247. On 19 February 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression on behalf of Shaikh Ahmad Turki al-Sa'ab, Hamad ‘Ali Daseeny al-Hutailah, and Hamad Qulayan al-Zbeyd, all members of the minority Shi'a Muslim community, who were believed to be held incommunicado. Shaikh Ahmad Turki al-Sa'ab, who is said to be a leading member of the Ismaili branch of the Shi'a Muslim community, was reportedly arrested in Najran on 15 January. Around 4 February, the two others were reportedly arrested, also in Najran. The arrest of all three men is believed to be connected with an interview that Shaikh Ahmad Turki al-Sa'ab gave to a foreign journalist in which he reportedly expressed some criticism of the Saudi Arabian authorities' policy towards the Ismaili community in the country. The two others were reportedly present during the interview.

1248. By letter dated 3 December 2002, the Government informed the Special Rapporteur that Sheikh Ahmed Turki al-Saab, Hamad al-Hutailah and Hamad al-Zubaid were detained on suspicion of entering in contact with dubious foreign bodies and jeopardizing the security and interests of the country. The Government added that after questioning, those against whom there was sufficient evidence for charges to be brought against them were referred to the competent court, which will determine whether they are innocent or guilty.

1249. On 24 April 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of Gary Dixon, also known as O'Nions, a British national. He had reportedly been sentenced after a trial in camera and without the presence of a lawyer on 2 April 2002 to 800 lashes, eight years in jail and fined for producing and selling alcohol. He had reportedly been extradited from the United Arab Emirates to Riyadh on 15 March 2001, in connection with car-bombings that took place in Saudi Arabia in late 2000.

1250. By letter dated 2 July 2002, the Government informed that his lawyer lodged an appeal against the judgment on 17 April 2002 and that the appeal was still being considered by the competent court at the time of writing.

1251. On 1st August 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Representative on human rights defenders on behalf of Sa'd bin Sa'id Zua'ir. He was reportedly arrested at Riyadh airportby the General Intelligence al-Mabahith al-Amma police in the middle of July, and had since been held in incommunicado detention. He was apparently planning to travel to Qatar to take part in one of Aljzeera television's current affairs programs in order to raise awareness of his father's detention in Saudi Arabia. His father, Dr. Sa'id bin Zua'ir, the former head of the Department of Information at Imam Muhammad Ibn Sa'ud University, was allegedly arrested for his criticism of the Government in early 1995 and has since been held without charge or trial in al- Ha'ir Prison outside Riyadh.

Follow-up to previously transmitted cases

1252. By letter dated 11 December 2001, the Government responded to an urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur in 21 March 2001 on behalf of a group of foreigners including the British citizen Gary Dixon (see E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1 para. 1319). The Government indicated that, when sufficient evidence was furnished for their indictment, they admitted their involvement in the bombings which occurred in the cities of Riyadh and al-Khobar and all the details of their confessions were recorded. They were not subjected to any degrading or inhuman treatment at any stage of their examination and their embassy is in constant contact with them and is kept fully informed of the progress of the investigations. They are being well treated and enjoy full health care.

1253. By letter dated 11 December 2001, the Government responded to an urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on 24 August 2001 on behalf of a group of persons arrested in the city of Jeddah in July 2001 (ibid., para. 1320). The Government informed that they were arrested for renting residential apartments and converting them into shelters for undocumented foreigners, which is a criminal punishable offence. The Government informed that they were sentenced to deportation from the country following the settlement of all their entitlements.


1254. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern the views expressed in May 2002 by the Committee against Torture after its consideration of the initial periodic report of the Saudi Arabia under the Convention against Torture as follows: “[t]he sentencing to, and imposition of, corporal punishments by judicial and administrative authorities, including, in particular, flogging and amputation of limbs, that are not in conformity with the Convention. ” (CAT/C/CR/28/2. para. 4 (b))

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