Saudi Arabia: Waleed Abu al-Khair Update | WGAD

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Waleed Abu al-Khair of Saudi Arabia

LRWC provided the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention with an update of  the situation of imprisoned lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair. The Working
Group in its 4 July 2018 Opinion concluded there was no legal  justification for the arrest, charges, trial, conviction and sentencing  of Waleed Abu al-Khair, all of which contravened international law.









/HRC/WGAD/2018/10. 4 July 2018

11 March 2019

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Questions


  1. The repeated attempts to obtain a confession from Mr. Abu al-Khair while he is completely impotent to influence the treatment that he receives or the treatment of his mother, sister, ex-wife and daughter constitutes torture prohibited by UNCAT, when considered alone and when considered in the context of other severe treatment. With respect to Saudi Arabia’s use of torture to extract confessions, the OHCHR reported in August 2018 that, “The [Committee Against Torture] and the Special Rapporteur on terrorism were deeply concerned that torture and ill-treatment were commonly practiced in prisons and detentions centres by law enforcement officials, including to extract confessions.”[22] That report also noted, “The Committee Against Torture was concerned that coerced confessions were admissible evidence in the courts.”[23]
  2. Other treatment in contravention of the UDHR, Nelson Mandela Rules and the CRC used to cause mental and physical pain as a means of coercing the confession sought, in violation of UNCAT includes:
  • Long term denial of the prudent, competent and adequate health care necessary to ensure non-discriminatory protection of Mr. Abu al-Khair’s rights to life and security of the person in violation of the UDHR Articles 3, 5 and 2, UNCAT Articles 2 and 16 and the Nelson Mandela Rules 24 and 27;
  • Severe and unwarranted denial of contact with friends and colleagues through written communication or visits in violation of UDHR Articles 2, 3, 5, and 8, the Nelson Mandela Rules 3 and 58 and UNCAT, Articles 2 and 16;
  • Severe and unwarranted restriction of visits with his daughter and other family members by imposing no-contact, length and frequency restrictions and conducting humiliating searches of his mother and sister in violation of the UDHR Articles 2 and 16, the Nelson Mandela Rules 3, 58, 60.2 and 61, and the CRC Articles 2, 3.1, 4, 6, 9 and 16;
  • Refusal to provide and refusal to allow his family to provide the food necessary to prevent worsening of his diabetes and colon condition and to maintain other aspects of his health in violation of the UDHR Articles 2, 5, 5 and 7, UNCAT Articles 2 and 16 and the Nelson Mandela Rules 22 and 24;
  • Exposure to ill-treatment and failure to provide remedies as set out in paragraph 25 of these submissions in violations of UNCAT Articles 2, 6 and 16, UDHR Articles 2, 3, 5 and 7; the Nelson Mandela Rules 1, 2, 39 and 71;
  • Failure to allow or provide opportunities for exercise in violation of the UDHR Article 3, the Nelson Mandela Rules 2, 23 and 24.

Respectfully submitted for LRWC

Gail Davidson, Executive Director, LRWC
3220 West 13th Avenue,
Vancouver BC, Canada V6K 2V5
Email:; Website:
Tel: +1 604 736 1175; Fax: +1 604 737 1170

[22] Periodic Review: Compilation on Saudi Arabia: Report of the OHCHR, A/HRC/WG.6/31/SAU/2, 30 August 2018, at para. 19.

[23] Ibid at para. 27.