Essam al-Zamil, a well-known Saudi Arabian economist has been jailed for over a year and faces charges of terrorism. His criticism of the Aramco sale seems to be the impetus for his arrest. Many rumors are also being spread about him – being involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, communicating with officials in Qatar, inciting protests in Saudi Arabia. CCS has written the U.S. State Department urging them to encourage Saudi Arabian authorities to review this case and release Dr. al-Zamil without delay.
Secretary of State
US Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Contact Form: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
The Honorable Secretary Pompeo:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for the safety of Essam al-Zamil, a well-known Saudi Arabian economist who has been jailed for over a year, and now faces dubious charges of “terrorism” because of his criticism, on social media, of the economic valuations involved in a plan to sell off a portion of Aramco, the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company. Criticism of the Aramco deal was the primary issue that created problems for the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Alleged to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as to have communicated with officials in the neighboring state of Qatar, and to have incited protests in Saudi Arabia, Essam al-Zamil is in fact a well-respected economist who appears to have been imprisoned simply for expressing his opinion.
We urge you, in your conversations with Saudi Arabian counterparts, to call for the release of Essam al-Zamil. We further urge that you obtain assurances that his physical safety will be guaranteed, and that he will be allowed to resume his career and exercise his right to freely express his views.
The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and opinion is guaranteed in the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to which Saudi Arabia is a signatory, and freedom of opinion and expression are also protected by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As a community of scientist and scholars, we know that free and open exchange of ideas and opinions is vital for academic and scientific progress, and we urge you to play a constructive role in helping to promote these freedoms inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
We urge you to call on Saudi Arabia to respect these rights, as exercised peacefully by Essam al-Zamil, so that he may be released without delay.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue. NW
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 1 202 537 3100
Fax: 1 202 295 3625
Contact Form: https://www.saudiembassy.net/contact