26 May 2008

Matrook Al-Faleh

This afternoon I received an email containing the following plea on behalf of a fellow Political Scientist Matrook Al-Faleh (shown at right in a 2004 photo) who is on the faculty at King Saud University. Al-Faleh has been detained after speaking out regarding conditions of Saudi prisons, especially the conditions of political prisoners. He is reportedly is on a hunger strike.

"This is a human call from the King Saud University, Political Science Department to all Political Science departments and all civil society organizations in the United States.

Professor of political science at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, and human rights activist Matrook Al-Faleh was kidnapped on May 19, 2008. Dr. Matrook Al-Faleh is a member of the Arab Committee for Human Rights and an active advocate of civil society and constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Al-Faleh left his home to his office when his family lost contact with him. Al-Faleh's family and the Arab Committee for Human Rights tried to locate him by calling his cell phone to no avail. When his family went to his office, he was not there although his car was at the University parking lot. It has then become clear to his family that Dr. Al-Faleh was kidnapped by the Saudi Secret Police.

Before his imprisonment, Dr. Matrook Al-Faleh had issued a statement on torture and prison conditions and other human right abuses practices in Buraidah regional prison. This statement came after his recent visit his jailed colleague and activist, Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamed.

It is worthy mentioning that in May, 5, 2005 a Saudi court sentenced Dr. Al-Faleh six years in prison along with Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamed, Abdul Rahman Al-laem and Al- Al Dumini. They were pardoned by the king after spending two years of their jail time. Although released, these advocate were banned from traveling abroad and their passports were revoked by the ministry of Interior, headed by the king's brother, prince Naief bin Abdulaziz. Since their imprisonment three days ago, not one Saudi broadcast station mentioned the news.

Dr. Matrook Al-Faleh has published several works in civil society and constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia. He is an active member at the Board of Directors of the Arab Committee for Human Rights, the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Arab Unity Studies and a strong defender of political abuse victims in the Arab world in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. The Arab Committee for Human Rights is taking the lead in defending Dr. Al-Faleh, as is the case with more than 120 non-governmental organizations in the world.

The Arab Committee for Human Rights is calling upon the Saudi authorities to release Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamed, Dr. Matrook Al Falih, Dr. Issa Hamed, and other political conscious prisoners being held in Saudi jails without trials. We hope from all political science departments and civil society organization to exert all their pressure upon the Saudi government to release these prisoners.

For more information, please call the Political Science Department at King Saud University at phones

The director of department 00966 4674208

The Secretary of department 00966 4674209 or 00966 4674201

The Fax of department 00966 4674207

Wednesday , May 21, 2008"
You can find a similar plea from Human Rights Watch here. Notice that the HRW Press release makes clear that this is part of a pattern of repression within Saudi Arabia. You can find reports on al-Faleh's predicament at The Washington Post, AFP and AP.

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