Publication date: 21/07/2020

ALQST has learned that in late April the Saudi authorities carried out a spate of arrests of journalists and intellectuals for expressing sympathy over the death of reformer and rights activist Abdullah al-Hamid. Those arrested include journalist Aql al-Bahili, writer Abdulaziz al-Dukhail and activist Sultan al-Ajmi, according to ALQST’s sources.
 
Al-Bahili, al-Dukhail and al-Ajmi expressed sorrow over the demise of the reformer Abdullah al-Hamid, who died after his health deteriorated as a result of deliberate medical neglect by the Saudi authorities, who refused to let him have the operations doctors told him that he needed. They did nothing at all until al-Hamid collapsed in his prison cell on 9 April, and then waited four hours before moving him to hospital, as a consequence of which he went into a coma and died on 23 April without any life-saving operation.
 
Just two days later, after posting a tweet of condolence which he later deleted, al-Bahili was arrested and taken to Al Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh, without any official charge and without being granted access to a lawyer. ALQST does not yet have any further information about al-Dukhail and al-Ajmi’s status or whereabouts, or about others.

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