UN expert condoles Saudi rights activist's death

Agnes Callamard reiterates UN's call for release of prisoners of conscience in Saudi prisons amid coronavirus outbreak

Zehra Nur Duz  | 24.04.2020 - Update : 25.04.2020
UN expert condoles Saudi rights activist's death


A UN official on Friday expressed her condolences over the death of a Saudi human rights activist and renowned academic in a prison in Saudi Arabia.

"Very sad news on this 1st day of #Ramadan2020: Prisoner of conscience, Poet, #humanrights activist Dr. Abdullah al-Hamid dies in custody in #SaudiArabia. RIP," Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, wrote on Twitter.

Callamard reiterated a call by the UN Human Rights Office and The Special Procedures of UN Human Rights Council for the release of prisoners of conscience held in Saudi jails amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Al-Hamid died in prison on Friday, according to a media report and a prisoner rights group.

Prisoners of Conscience, a Twitter account that documents the situation of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, alleged that al-Hamid died due to "intentional medical negligence in prison […] he had a brain stroke and went into a coma for 15 days."

The account accused Saudi authorities of "deliberately assassinating him after leaving him in a coma for hours before taking him to hospital."

Saudi authorities usually deny any negligence in the care of prisoners but have yet to comment on al-Hamid's death.

Al-Hamid is a founding member of the independent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA).

In Saudi Arabia, the coronavirus-related death toll stands at 127, while a total of 15,102 people have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

After first being detected in China late last year, the virus has spread to 185 countries and regions.

It has killed more than 193,000 people and infected over to 2.76 million, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide recoveries have exceeded 760,000.

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