Saudi security officials have reportedly arrested more than 50 people, mainly youths and adolescents, in the northern province of Qassim, including the son of Abdulkareem Al-Khather, founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA).
ACPRA was formed in 2009 by Professor Abdulkareem Yousef Al-Khathar, then Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence in Qassim University. Professor Al-Khathar, a human rights activist along with 10 other fellow human rights activists were determined to pursue democratic and legal reforms and promote human rights in the absolute monarchy. The core idea behind establishing the ACPRA is to promote human rights and civil society awareness within Saudi society as it is the only viable solution to combat extremism, terrorism and violence.
Thamer Abdulkareem Al-Khather, a university student and member of “the youth movement that calls for a constitutional reform, was arrested by the interior ministry’s General Investigation Directorate (DGI) for unknown reasons, according to a statement issued by ACPRA.
As reported by Amnesty International Report in 2009, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention of political and security suspects without trial and without access to lawyers are long-standing human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia. However, the number of people being detained arbitrarily in Saudi Arabia has risen from hundreds to thousands since 2001. Those arrested include Saudi Arabians and foreign nationals. In July 2007, the Interior Minister reported that 9,000 security suspects had been detained between 2003 and 2007 and that 3,106 of them remain held.
The detainees are held with no idea of what is going to happen to them. Most have been held for years without trial and have not been allowed access to lawyers or the courts, to challenge the legality of their detention. They have invariably been held incommunicado following arrest and throughout the period of interrogation, which can last for years, before they are allowed family visits. The detainees include “prisoners of conscience, targeted for their peaceful criticism of government policies,” but “the majority are suspected supporters of Islamist groups,” the report alleges.