Personal information

  • Sex: Male
  • Marital status: Married
  • Date of birth: 1956
  • Profession: Cleric
  • Place of residence: Riyadh

An iconic religious reformer and one of Saudi Arabia’s leading proponents of political reform and human rights. His detention followed a sharp exchange of words in which Dr al-Odah argued that he was being arrested illegally, and security officers made clear that the reason for his arrest was a Twitter post in which he had welcomed a phone conversation between the Emir of Qatar and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia as a step towards resolving the current Gulf crisis. In it he said: “Praise the Lord… O God, soften their hearts toward each other for the good of their peoples.”

Arrest and jail information

  • Prison: Al-Ha’ir Prison, Riyadh
  • Date of arrest: 09 September 2017
  • Manner of arrest: State Security officers took him from his home to Dhahban Central Prison, Jeddah

Trial information

  • Charges: 37 counts including turning society against the country’s rulers; seeking to corrupt society; having links with individuals and organisations belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood; not praying enough for the country’s rulers; calling for change in the Saudi government; attempting to incite revolution
  • Court: Specialised Criminal Court (SCC)

Violations

  • Arbitrary arrest/ detention ,
  • Denied contact with family ,
  • Denied access to a lawyer ,
  • Observers denied access to court hearings ,
  • Denied access to healthcare

Violation details

Al-Odah's health has sharply declined in prison, including the loss of almost half of his ability to hear and see. He has experienced severe ill-treatment in prison since his arbitrary arrest in September 2017, including being denied medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Timeline

  • 06 July 2021 - He attended his latest trial session in the Specialised Criminal Court. Despite his family being told that a further hearing would take place, nothing has yet been scheduled and the trial remains pending.
  • 14 March 2021 - A closed hearing is held at the Specialised Criminal Court in his trial, lasting only seconds, with the next hearing scheduled for July.
  • 2019-2020 - Dozens of trial sessions took place, a majority of which were postponed for unknown reasons.
  • End of 2019 - He was transferred from Dhahban prison, Jeddah to Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh.
  • 4 September 2018 - His trial began, with the Public Prosecutor calling for the death penalty.
  • 09 September 2017 - He was arrested after he posted on Twitter a prayer for the “softening of hearts” of Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s rulers during a political standoff.

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