Economics Professor who co-founded the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association that encourages the Saudi Kingdom to comply with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Professor al-Qathani, after a 10-year travel ban, was convicted of planting seeds of sedition, breaking allegiance with the ruler, defaming the judiciary and turning international organizations against the Kingdom. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. CCS has written the new leader of Saudi Arabia in hopes that he will have a clearer vision and reconsider al-Qathani’s predicament and drop the charges and let him be free.
November 29, 2017
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
c/o Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Fax: (202) 944-5983
We are writing on behalf of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for our colleagues all over the world.
We are writing now in concern for Mohammad Al-Qathani. From what we are reading and hearing in the media, it appears that you have been concerned with Human Rights in Saudi Arabia and creating an environment of fairness and opening the door to freedoms that were not recognized previously. It is
with these hopes in mind that we are writing you to address Professor al-Qathani’s situation.
Al-Qathani 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 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-Qathani’s jail sentence as inconsistent with these universal human rights.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky,
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists