On the fate of eleven members of targeted Saudi civil rights group
Jan 31, Riyadh: The authorities in Saudi Arabia continue their repeated attempts to dismantle the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), in addition to systematically targeting its members, according to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR).
The ACPRA was established on 12 October 2009 to promote civil and political rights and to respond to increased arrests following the second Gulf war. Their activities range from open letters and petitions, community outreach events, participating in international human rights activities and direct communications with the relevant authorities in Saudi Arabia.
The group aimed to document human rights violations, use the international mechanisms including the United Nations to protect people's rights, increase the awareness of civil and political rights, empower the marginalised and vulnerable populations, and promote the framework of human rights as a compatible concept with Islamic principles.
A couple of years after its foundation, ACPRA members were targeted by the authorities on charges of inciting public dissent and the information technology crimes law (paragraph one of article 6) has been used to justify charges against ACPRA members. In addition, “ta'azir”, or deciding a penalty by the religious judge as he deems appropriate, has been applied to justify the lengthy imprisonment, lashing, and travel bans applied in sentencing ACPRA members for their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities. Most trials of the members took place at the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) assigned to cases of allegedly terror-related crimes.
The Oslo Times/IFEX