In April 2023, WGAD on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion on the detention of Dr. Safar Al-Hawali, concluding that his detention was arbitrary and fell within categories 1,2,3 and 5.
WGAD affirmed that Mr. Al-Hawali’s detention was due to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression, and participation in public affairs management, in blatant violation of Articles 7, 19, and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
WGAD stated that Mr. Al-Hawali was prevented from communicating with lawyers from the moment of his detention, representing a failure on the part of the government to respect his right to legal assistance. As a result, Mr. Al-Hawali was unable to challenge the legality of his detention, constituting a violation of his right to contest pre-trial detention.
WGAD emphasized that Mr. Al-Hawali’s detention was based on discriminatory grounds, motivated by his role in a political and religious reform movement, constituting a deprivation of liberty in violation of Articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
WGAD noted that Mr. Al-Hawali was prevented from regular communication with his family and had not been allowed access to a lawyer since his arrest. WGAD called on the Saudi authorities to take immediate steps to facilitate communication between Mr. Al-Hawali, his family, and his lawyer.
WGAD urged the Saudi government to ensure that Mr. Al-Hawali’s relatives are not subjected to any retaliation for his activities or their own exercise of their rights, expressing serious concern about confirmed reports of harassment and reprisals against members of Mr. Al-Hawali’s family, particularly family member arrests as punishment for Mr. Al-Hawali’s activities.
Concluding, based on all case circumstances, WGAD deemed the appropriate action to be the immediate release of Mr. Al-Hawali and granting him the enforceable right to compensation and redress, in accordance with international law, calling on the Saudi government to take urgent measures to ensure Mr. Al-Hawali’s immediate release.