Ali Al Ahmed, formerly Saudi Arabia’s youngest political prisoner, addresses the 6th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy – see below for full prepared remarks.
Thank you so much for having me. My name is Ali Al Ahmed, I’m calling you from Washington DC. I wanted to salute all of you human rights heroes from around the world for representing your people. You are really true heroes because you take a lot of risk to come and speak on behalf of your people. I also wanted to thank all those who helped me to be here on skype. I was very sorry I couldn’t make it [in person], it’s beyond my control. I was hoping to be with you. And I especially want to thank UN Watch and the other organisers who have invited me to speak.
I am here to speak about the crimes of the Saudi monarchy. Not only against my family and myself, but also against our people. The Saudi monarchy has really truly earned the title of the ‘Monarchy of Darkness’, over its treatment of our people, especially women, Shia Arabs and black people.
Last week, the Saudi monarchy’s death squads murdered two protest organizers, including a photographer who was documenting their crimes. He was shot 11 times while he was holding his camera, and his body was dragged by this death squad. These death squads were using German weapons and South African armored vehicles, the same armored vehicles the apartheid regime used against Blacks, and then they were sold to the Saudi monarchy. These two victims last week are part of more than two dozen victims of these death squads, including children such as Abdullah [indaudible], who was in high school when he was murdered last year, while walking to his house.
The Saudi monarchy treats women as subhuman, as part of a man; subjected to everytime in their lifetime. Since birth to death, women are subject to the control of a man; a male guardian or a male master, according to Saudi laws. A man decides for every woman in his flock, in his harem, where to study, when to study, what to study, where to work, if they can work, where to travel, if they can travel, if he allows them. Even healthcare is restricted by the male master. Just today, a woman, a college student, gave birth in a [female] college and was not allowed to be taken to the hospital in the ambulance because her male master was not there to go in the ambulance with her. So she had to wait for her male master to take her from the University to the hospital with her newborn baby. Two weeks ago, a similar incident happened in another University, where the young woman died because the university administration refused to let her out in the ambulance without the presence of her male guardian, and she died five minutes away from the hospital.
Our democratic and reform leaders have been jailed by the Saudi monarchy. They include Dr. Mohammad Al-Qahtani, Dr. Abdul Mohammad, Sheikh Suliman al-Reshoudi, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and many other leaders and activists. Poets, like my friend [inaudible], poets like Habib Ali al-Maatiq, and many activists who have been jailed over writing a letter or tweeting, or having a Facebook account. Some have been sentenced to 15 years or 20 years for merely protesting in the streets. Other activists are facing death penalties. There are currently about twelve cases where the government of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi monarchy, is planning to execute twelve people for their role in protests. They include Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, my younger brother Kamil and [inaudible] Beddaoui, who set up a website for liberal ideas and now he’s been charged for apostasy. People like Abdullah [inaudible] and Muhammad [inaudible] and Hassan [inaudible]and many others, who are young people fighting for freedom and democracy peacefully. Yet, the Saudi monarchy answers with death.
When it comes to me and my family, like your presenter said, I was one of the youngest political prisoners in my country when I was 14 years old. At the time, [all] the members of my family were arrested. Two years before that, two of my cousins were killed by the Saudi national guard and Saudi army for protesting. Currently, I have one brother who spent 17 years in jail and [is] facing a death penalty trial. My young nephew also has been in jail for the past two years and has been sentenced to four years in prison for basically passing by a protest.These arrests and jailing were done based on suspicion only.
The Saudi monarchy also discriminates against black people. This is a message to the African countries, to Europe, that the Saudi monarchy views black people as slaves, unworthy of positions of leadership. That’s why, if any diplomats are present in the audience, have you ever seen a black diplomat for Saudi Arabia? A black official? There isn’t a single black male, black official from Saudi Arabia because the Saudi monarchy believes that the black people are subhuman.
The Saudi monarchy bans women from secular education, from exercising, causing the death of thousands of women every year. Thousands of women every year die in Saudi Arabia as a result of banning sport and physical education. That’s why we have launched a campaign called ‘No women no play’, to expel the Saudi monarchy from the Olympic movement. Unfortunately, the Olympic Committee in Lausanne refused to acknowledge the death toll, the thousands of women who have died as a direct result of the banning of sport in Saudi Arabia by the Saudi Monarchy. The Saudi Monarchy segregates women. Women live in segregation, they live in a gender-apartheid regime.
That’s why we ask all of you to spread the word and support our people. Our people will prevail, in spite of the bigotry by certain international organizations and certain governments, both democratic and dictatorships, who have ignored the plight of the people in our country enduring the torture and mistreatment by the South monarchy.
I want to end by telling you about the case of four sisters, the daughters of King Abdullah. Their names are Jawahir, Sahar, Maha and Hala, who have been held against their will since September 2001, by their father, King Abdullah. They have not been allowed to leave the place. They are under armed guard 24 hours a day for one thing because their mother, Miss Al Anoud Al Fayez, left King Abdullah and moved to London and refused to come back to Saudi Arabia. So he held her four daughters, his own daughters, for 14 years now.
If a King is willing to torture his own daughters, prevent them marriage, from the palace walls for 14 years, what do you think he would do to his own people, to the men women of my country? That’s why we must condemn the Saudi monarchy. One of the daughters of King Abdullah gave the monarchy a title. She called it “The Monarchy of Darkness.” The Saudi monarchy is the Monarchy of Darkness that all the people of the world both, but especially democratic countries, democratic people, should condemn this monarchy, a man that does not own our world.
Thank you so much for this opportunity and I hope to see you next month during our convention. Thank you so much.