Morocco should refrain from deporting Hassan Al-Rabea to Saudi Arabia

January 27, 2023

Joint letter supported by 9 human rights organisations calling on the Moroccan Government to release Saudi citizen Hassan Mohamed Al-Rabea and to refrain from deporting him to Saudi Arabia, where he would face torture.

The undersigned organisations call on the Moroccan Government to release Saudi citizen Hassan Mohamed Al-Rabea and to refrain from deporting him to Saudi Arabia. Mr Al-Rabea has been detained since January 14, 2023, when he was arrested at Marrakesh International Airport. According to his family, Mr Al-Rabea has legally resided in Morocco since June 22, 2022, for nearly six months. He left Saudi Arabia about a year and two months ago and travelled to several countries before arriving in Morocco.

Mr Al-Rabea left Saudi Arabia following escalating gross human rights violations against his family. The Saudi security forces launched several raids to arrest his brother, Munir, but arrested another brother, Ali, instead. Recently, the Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh issued a death sentence against Ali on charges related to his participation in peaceful protests demanding civil and political rights. According to information from the Public Prosecution's Office, Mr Al-Rabea is facing charges for allegedly helping a person wanted by internal security leave the country.

The undersigned organisations consider that the forced return of Hassan Al-Rabea to Saudi Arabia would endanger his life, freedom and safety. In addition to the high risk of torture and ill-treatment, he will likely face an unfair trial, resulting in arbitrary sentences and corporal punishments, possibly the death penalty. Saudi criminal law follows the sharia, remains unwritten and gives judges significant discretion.

The organisations stress that if the extradition of Hassan Al-Rabea was to happen, it would constitute a violation of Morocco's international obligations under the Convention against Torture, ratified by Morocco in 1993, which prohibits the extradition of suspects to a country where they may be subjected to torture.

The undersigned organisations recognise that Morocco took crucial steps to abide by its international human rights obligations by ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. In addition, Morocco established a national preventive mechanism in 2018. Therefore, the possibility of extraditing Mr Al-Rabea would constitute a significant step backwards, in light of the grave deterioration of human rights in Saudi Arabia with the systematic use of torture and inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment and an alarming number of death sentences.

List of Signatories:

ACAT-France, ALQST for Human Rights, European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights, MENA Rights Group, Moroccan Association for Human Rights, The Freedom Initiative, World Organisation Against Torture

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