Stockholm 1 September 2023
We, the Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies, write respectfully to seek your urgent assistance with the case of Dr. Mohammad Fahad Muflih al-Qahtani, a Saudi economist who has served a 10-year prison sentence because of his peaceful human rights advocacy. Although Dr. al-Qahtani’s prison sentence ended in November 2022, he remains in state custody, where he has been subjected to incommunicado detention for more than eight months.
We understand that Dr. al-Qahtani is now being held in Riyadh Correctional Facility while under investigation for criminal offenses he allegedly committed while in prison. To the best of our knowledge, no information about these new charges has been made public or shared with his family. Moreover, Dr. al-Qahtani has been prevented from communicating with his family since October 2022, and he has been denied access to a lawyer, in violation of international human rights standards. Given that he was attacked and repeatedly threatened by other prisoners in the weeks prior to his forced isolation and is believed to be suffering from deteriorated health, we are deeply concerned about his well-being.
In light of the information above, we respectfully request your help in ensuring that Dr. al-Qahtani is promptly released from detention so that he may reunite with his wife and children, who reside in the United States. In the interim, we ask that immediate measures be taken to ensure his personal safety and well-being in Riyadh Correctional Facility, including access to his family, legal counsel, and any medical care that he may need.
We thank you in advance, Your Excellency, for your attention to this important matter.
Professor, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies
The Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies includes members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, the Swedish Academy and the Young Academy of Sweden.