Mohammed al-Qathani, an economics professor calling for implementation of rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2013. CCS protested conviction based on peaceful expression of opinion and freedom of association and asked for his release.
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Ministry of the Interior
P.O. Box 2933, Airport Road
Riyadh 11134, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
February 9, 2015
We are writing now in concern for Mohammad Al-Qathani.
Al-Qahtani was an economics professor who co-founded the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association that calls for the implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On March 9, 2013, after a 10 year travel ban that had been imposed on Al-Qathani, the Criminal Court of Riyadh convicted him of “planting seeds of sedition, breaking allegiance with the ruler and defaming the judiciary” and “turning international organizations against the Kingdom. The court handed down a 10-year prison sentence for these charges.
It would appear that Al-Qathani was convicted for peaceful expressions of opinion and for associating with others concerned with human rights in Saudi Arabia. Peaceful promotion of human rights in any country benefits the governments and the whole population and should not be labeled as seditious, unpatriotic, or defamatory.
We respectfully urge you to direct a re-examination of these proceedings for consistency with Saudi Arabia’s obligations under international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial and respect for free expression and freedom of association. We urge you to withdraw or set aside Al-Qahtani’s jail sentence as inconsistent with these universal human rights.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists