Amnesty International calls for release of Yemeni-Dutch national arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia News
Rinto Jiang, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Amnesty International calls for release of Yemeni-Dutch national arbitrarily detained in Saudi Arabia

Amnesty International called on Wednesday for the immediate release of the Yemeni-Dutch national Fahd Ramadhan, who has been held without charges, legal representation, or adequate medical care since November 20, 2023, by Saudi Arabian authorities.

According to the human rights group, Ramadhan allegedly received a call from Saudi Arabia’s Criminal Investigation Department to report to the police, two days after having returned from the Netherlands, where he had been granted asylum protection since 2018. He was arrested on the same day without being given a reason or an opportunity to contact a lawyer. According to ALQST—an independent non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights in Saudi Arabia—Ramadhan was arrested after private Whatsapp messages in which he criticized the crown prince were leaked.

After being held in incommunicado detention until January 1, 2024, Ramadhan’s family appointed a lawyer on his behalf. However, Saudi-Arabian authorities denied them the opportunity to meet. In a separate development, officials from the Dutch embassy in Riyadh were granted permission to visit Ramadhan once he obtained Dutch citizenship in late March of this year.

Such an arrest and detainment is no novelty in Saudi Arabia, as has been reported by Amnesty International and other organizations multiple times. Amnesty said that in 2023, authorities targeted numerous individuals for exercising their right to freedom of expression, resulting in arbitrary detentions, extensive trials and disproportionality lengthy prison terms or even death sentences. Amnesty further reported in October 2022, that ten Egyptian Nubian men were imprisoned following what was described as a “grossly unfair trial.” Human Rights Watch documented a similar case in 2023, in which a man was sentenced to death based on his Twitter and YouTube activity. Moreover, the man was not granted access to legal counsel for most of his detainment.