Egyptian human rights advocates demand release of 10 Nubians detained in Saudi Arabia

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Six human rights organisations demanded the Egyptian authorities intervene immediately to secure the release of 10 Nubian Egyptian citizens detained in Saudi Arabia for over a year.

The organisations denounced their detention since July 2020 without trial, especially because a number of the detainees are old and have health problems. The statement pointed out that the detainees resided in Saudi Arabia for many years without any problems.

The statement, signed by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Nadim Centre, Freedom Initiative, Egyptian Front for Human Rights, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, condemned Cairo’s embassy in Saudi Arabia, which refused to help the Egyptian detainees. The story began on 25 October 2019, when the Saudi authorities arrested 10 members of the Nubian Association, after the association held a symposium on the anniversary of the 6th of October War.

The symposium displayed photos of Egyptian heroes, including Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawy. The Saudi authorities interrogated the detainees because they did not display a photo of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Although the detainees explained that this has no political origin and they only displayed photos of those who participated in the war, they were sent to the disreputable Al-Hayer Prison in Riyadh. They were released after two months, but the Saudi authorities re-arrested them on 14 July 2020. The Egyptian consulate refused to help the detainees in any way claiming that they were jailed for security not criminal reasons.

The organisations said the detainees are Adel Fakir, head of the Nubian community in Riyadh, Faragallah Yousuf, Gamal Al-Masry, Mohamed Fathallah, Hashem Shater, Ali Gomaa, Saleh Gomaa, Abdel Salam Gomaa, Abdullah Gomaa, and Wael Hassan. They were arrested by the General Investigations Directorate, which is affiliated to Saudi’s State Security and are now detained in Asir Prison in Abha.