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Essam Koshak detained by Saudi authorities

Status: 
Facing charges
About the situation

On 4 October 2017, human rights defenders Essam Koshak and Issa Al-Nukhaifi will be brought to trial for charges related to their human rights activism.

About Essam Koshak

essam_koshak.jpgEssam Koshak is a prominent human rights defender working on civil and political rights in Saudi Arabia. He is active on twitter and has been particularly vocal on issues of corruption and freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia.

14 September 2017
Essam Koshak facing trial

On 4 October 2017, human rights defenders Essam Koshak and Issa Al-Nukhaifi will be brought to trial for charges related to their human rights activism.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

Essam Koshak is a human rights defender working on civil and political rights, is active on Twitter and has been particularly vocal on issues of corruption and freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia. He has also supported the campaign to end the guardianship of women in Saudi Arabia. Issa Al-Nukhaifi is a human rights defender and lawyer who advocates against the government’s policy of forced displacement of persons from the borders between Saudi Arabia and Yemen without adequate compensation. He has also voiced his criticism and protested against Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen.

On 4 October 2017, Essam Koshak and Issa Al-Nukhaifi will be brought to trial at Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court for charges related to their human rights activism. Both human rights defenders are currently being held in Riyadh’s Al-Ha'ir Criminal Prison. On 21 August 2017 charges were brought against the human rights defenders.  Essam Koshak was accused of “inciting public opinion” and of illegally supporting an end to the women’s guardianship system. Human rights defender  Issa Al-Nukhaifi was charged with “inciting public opinion against the rulers”, and “insulting the authorities”. He is also accused of calling for the release of individuals affiliated with banned organizations, such as the Civil and Political Rights Association in Saudi Arabia (ACPRA), and of being in contact with alleged members of the opposition.

Essam Koshak was first summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department in Mecca on 8 January 2017 and detained in Al-Mansour police station until he was released that evening. The human rights defender was ordered to appear before the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution in Mecca on the following day, 9 January 2017. He complied but was then detained by the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution and has been held in custody since. Issa Al-Nukhaifi was arrested on 18 December 2016 by Saudi Arabian security forces in Jizan, and has been detained since then.

Front Line Defenders condemns the continued detention and judicial harrassment of Essam Koshak and Issa Al-Nukhaifi as it believes these actions are solely related to their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.

Front Line Defenders calls upon the authorities of Saudi Arabia to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against human rights defenders Essam Koshak and Issa Al-Nukhaifi as it is believed that they are solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;

2. Cease targeting of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

10 January 2017
Human rights defenders detained by Saudi authorities

On 5 January 2017, human rights defender Mr. Ahmed Mshikhs was summoned and later detained by Saudi authorities without charge in Al-Qatif police prison – he is currently being held in Al-Dammam general prison. On 8 January 2017, Mr. Essam Koshak was summoned and detained the following day by the Mecca Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution without charge. Both human rights defenders are currently in detention.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

Ahmed Mshikhs is a prominent human rights defender and co-founder of Al-Adalah Centre for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia working to promote and protect civil and political rights in the country.  Essam Koshak is also a prominent human rights defender working on civil and political rights in Saudi Arabia. He is active on twitter and has been particularly vocal on issues of corruption and freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia.

Essam Koshak was first summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department in Mecca on 8 January 2017 and detained on the same day detained until late evening hours in Al-Mansour police station after which he was released. The human rights defender was ordered to appear before the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution in Mecca on the following day. He complied but was then detained by the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution and has been held without charge since. On 10 January 2017, the Saudi authorities extended the detention of Essam Koshak by four additional days and have prohibited him from seeking legal counsel.

Earlier in the week on 5 January 2017, human rights defender Ahmed Mshikhs was  summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department in Al-Qatif. He was then arrested and detained in Al-Qatif police prison. On 8 January 2017 he was transferred to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution in Al-Dammam and he is currently being held in Al-Dammam general prison without charge.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the detention of human rights defenders Ahmed Mshikhs and Essam Koshak, as it believes it to be associated with his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in Saudi Arabia. Front Line Defenders is particularly concerned that the Essam Koshak has not yet been allowed to seek legal counsel.

Front Line Defenders urges Saudi authorities to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defenders Ahmed Mshikhs and Essam Koshak and cease any further judicial harassment against them;

2. Ensure that the treatment of Ahmed Mshikhs and Essam Koshak, while in detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Ensure that Ahmed Mshikhs and Essam Koshak have access to legal counsel immediately in case their detention continues;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.