Matrook Al-Faleh Freed

Matrook al-Faleh has been released from jail earlier today. Al-Faleh was arrested last May in Riyadh after criticizing the poor situation of Buraida General Prison where his fellow activist Abdullah al-Hamed was jailed until last September after he completed a six-month sentence there. Al-Faleh, a political science professor at KSU, was put in solitary confinement for the whole period, he had no access to a lawyer, and no accusations were officially made against him.

It is good to see Matrook al-Faleh free again and back to his family and friends, and I certainly hope other jailed prisoners of conscience will be released soon.

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Too Much to Ask?

More than 75 days have passed since the arrest of Matrook al-Faleh, the political sciences professor at KSU, who was taken from his office at the university in a manner that is inappropriate and unacceptable, to say the least. No official statement has been released on why he was arrested and what are the charges against him. He remains in solitary confinement and he is yet to be allowed to meet his lawyer.

Jamila al-Uqla, al-Faleh’s wife, has issued a statement today saying what her husband is put through violates Sharia, as well as international laws and accords which oppose any kind of treatment that degrades human dignity. She also called on human rights organizations and activists around the world to speak out for him and ask for his release because his demands are peaceful and public.

There is not much more to say other than repeating what I said here two months ago, and also what 140 intellectuals and activists wrote in a petition to the King that was published in early June. Either release him, or present him to a fair public trial.

You Can’t Kill the Future

It has been two weeks since Matrook al-Faleh was arrested in Riyadh. Despite requests from human rights organizations and the media, the Ministry of Interior is yet to explain why they arrested him.

Activist Fowzan al-Harbi has posted a message to the Saudis for Constitution group this morning saying that a relative of al-Faleh’s has attempted to visit him in al-Hayer Prison yesterday but has been denied. He has been told to go to the ministry, where he asked about the charges against al-Faleh. He has been told the charges are “releasing statements opposing the government and browsing banned websites.”

Jamila al-Uqla, al-Faleh’s wife, has told CNN last week following a visit to her husband in prison that he is in a terrible state. No one has been allowed to visit him since then.

It is truly sad that in a time when our country is trying reform and move towards more openness and freedom that a great intellectual like Matrook al-Faleh is detained for simply practicing his right of free speech by highlighting the miserable state of prisons; in a time when our King says even his majesty is not above criticism, people are being arrested for merely speaking their minds. It pains me to no end that as much as some of us love this country, they keep hurting those who love it the most. They keep on trying to dash our hopes without realizing that they can’t kill the future; they are just delaying the inevitable