Dubai: Rights groups in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have all condemned the “flagrant violation of human rights” of Qatari citizen Hamad Abdul Hadi Al Merri.
Al Merri, who gave an interview on Saudi Television networks while he was in Makkah, has been held incommunicado from his relatives and lawyers.
Qatar has reportedly arrested him upon his return from Saudi Arabia after performing this year’s Haj as a guest of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
A recent video of him being allegedly assaulted in the middle of the desert was proved to have been staged by employees from Qatar’s interior ministry.
Mohammad Salem Al Kaabi, Chairman of The Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA), affirmed that all these acts, individually and collectively, amounted to crimes against humanity.
He urged the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar and all international human rights organisations to respond to the call of Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) to fulfil its duty to ensure the disclosure of Al Merri’s fate and to ensure his safety.
Al Merri had entered Saudi Arabia through the Salwa border crossing, which was opened as an exception for the reception of Qatari pilgrims.
“We call on the National Human Rights Committee of the State of Qatar and all international human rights organisations to do their duty to ensure the disclosure of the fate of this Qatari citizen and to protect him from the attacks and violations that have been committed against him, and to ensure his safety and not being subjected to pressure imposed by certain political dictates because of his right to perform Haj and his right to freedom of expression and to ensure that all those who exploited their political power, abuse and torture are prosecuted,” NSHR said in a statement.
“We also call on all institutions and institutions in Qatar to work hard to protect Al Merri and prosecute those who assaulted him regardless of their positions and forced him to film after entering the Qatari territory, and to facilitate his return to his home and his family and his right to travel and freedom of expression and the enjoyment of all natural guarantees and rights guaranteed by international treaties and human rights conventions.”
The Manama Centre for Human Rights also condemned Al Merri’s assault and issued similar statements.