At the time when the international attention of media institutions, foreign policies or human rights organizations are focused on the promised transformation launched by the Deputy Prince Salman bin Mohammad in the New Saudi Vision, all forms of harassment and violations of freedoms and human rights are being aggravated in the civil society without any deterrent. In a notable development, the Saudi authorities made a series of arrests all because of tweets written on social media network “Twitter”, the latest was the detention of Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Tarifi on Saturday afternoon, April 23, 2016, near his home in Riyadh, following the arrest of Sheikh Suleiman ad-Duwaich on the same day, and Dr Mohammed al-Hadhaif, several days ago, the journalist who wrote some tweets on Twitter expressing his opinion regarding the policy of an Arab State.
Information differed about the reason of Tarifi’s arrest, while some attributed it to the Tarifi’s comment on the new committee organization describing it as “disruption” in an interview with him in a channel few days ago; others considered that Tarifi’s latest tweets on Twitter in which he criticized the rulers are the main reason beyond the detention.
Based on what has been stated by “Omar”, Sheikh Tarifi’s son, the security forces arrested his father, without giving any reason. According to tweets that have been circulated by activists on social media Twitter, Sheikh Tarifi was arrested upon return to his home after evening prayer. He was surprised by cars surrounding the place, and by security forces that did not reveal their party identity and ordered him to accompany them without allowing him to inform his family and did not show any warrant for arrest.
Al-Tarifi arrest or detention continued without informing his family or relatives and no statement has been issued from any official body claiming responsibility for this arrest, but some activists on Twitter circulated a message which they said it has been sent from his own mobile 12 hours following the detention, in which he reassured everybody and denied “that he was detained or arrested” and that he is “in a suitable place for discussing some matters”. Al-Tarifi was allowed to meet one of his relatives five days following the detention, as stated in a Twitter account created by his relatives. The account added that the meeting lasted for limited hours in a place not special for visits, and confirmed the deprivation of Sheikh Tarifi of his legal rights.
»Abdulaziz al-Tarifi« is a 41 years old Saudi preacher, graduated from Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University – Faculty of Shariaa in Riyadh, and a former religious researcher in Islamic affairs, endowments, call and guidance in Saudi Arabia.
Apart from Tarifi’s opinions and work, the Saudi Organization for Rights and Freedom condemns Tarifi’s detention and considers it arbitrary by all means, and a violation for the International Conventions and Laws which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to and which emphasize the freedom of individuals and the freedom of expression and civil rights.
The Saudi Organization for Rights and Freedom calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Sheik Tarifi, being a detainee of conscience who exercised his right to freedom of expression on Twitter. It also calls for the release of all detainees of human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and for the guarantee of all necessary measures to ensure his physical and psychological integrity. The organization strongly demands the authorities to reconsider the local laws that contradict the freedom of expression and the civil and political rights.
The Organization also urges the official authorities to be committed to the international and local conventions and laws that prevent the prosecution of individuals based on their opinion and beliefs and exercising their right to freedom of expression duly guaranteed…