Saudi Political Scientist Arrested By Secret Police

by Henry Farrell on May 30, 2008

I’ve received an email from the political science department at King Saud University about the detention and imprisonment without charge of one of their colleagues, Matrook Al-Faleh, asking “all political science departments and civil society organization to exert all their pressure upon the Saudi government to release” Al-Faleh and other prisoners. The likely reason for the arrest is that Al-Faleh (who has protested in the past against torture and prison conditions in Saudi Arabia) had written a general email criticizing conditions at Buraida General Prison. Human Rights Watch has “more here”: The letter itself is after the fold.

This is a human call from the King Saud University, Political Science Department to all Political Science departments and all civil society organizations in the United States.

Professor of political science at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, and human rights activist Matrook Al-Faleh was kidnapped on May 19, 2008. Dr. Matrook Al-Faleh is a member of the Arab Committee for Human Rights and an active advocate of civil society and constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Al-Faleh left his home to his office when his family lost contact with him. Al-Faleh’s family and the Arab Committee for Human Rights tried to locate him by calling his cell phone to no avail. When his family went to his office, he was not there although his car was at the University parking lot. It has then become clear to his family that Dr. Al-Faleh was kidnapped by the Saudi Secret Police.

Before his imprisonment, Dr. Matrook Al-Faleh had issued a statement on torture and prison conditions and other human right abuses practices in Buraidah regional prison. This statement came after his recent visit his jailed colleague and activist, Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamed.

It is worthy mentioning that in May, 5, 2005 a Saudi court sentenced Dr. Al-Faleh six years in prison along with Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamed, Abdul Rahman Al-laem and Al- Al Dumini. They were pardoned by the king after spending two years of their jail time. Although released, these advocate were banned from traveling abroad and their passports were revoked by the ministry of Interior, headed by the king’s brother, prince Naief bin Abdulaziz. Since their imprisonment three days ago, not one Saudi broadcast station mentioned the news.

Dr. Matrook Al-Faleh has published several works in civil society and constitutional reform in Saudi Arabia. He is an active member at the Board of Directors of the Arab Committee for Human Rights, the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Arab Unity Studies and a strong defender of political abuse victims in the Arab world in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. The Arab Committee for Human Rights is taking the lead in defending Dr. Al-Faleh, as is the case with more than 120 non-governmental organizations in the world.

The Arab Committee for Human Rights is calling upon the Saudi authorities to release Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamed, Dr. Matrook Al Falih, Dr. Issa Hamed, and other political conscious prisoners being held in Saudi jails without trials. We hope from all political science departments and civil society organization to exert all their pressure upon the Saudi government to release these prisoners.

For more information, please call the Political Science Department at King Saud University at phones

The director of department 00966 4674208

The Secretary of department 00966 4674209 or 00966 4674201

The Fax of department 00966 4674207



jayann 05.30.08 at 4:29 pm

Have you forwarded it to PSA and IPSA? and — maybe — FAO SOAS?


ehswan 05.31.08 at 11:14 pm

What is the meaning of “secret police”? What do they do if not police secrets? Then the question nags, how does one police secrets? Perhaps they arrest the secretaries who have not kept the secrets. And what are the secrets that the “secret police”, police? To my low income central Kentucky mind, it just gets murkier and murkier! LONG LIVE THE NET.


Jan Marien 06.04.08 at 12:33 pm

Dear Henry Farrell
You did the right thing: such news should get the highest visibility possible. I regularly write and translate for Amnesty International and I know that this kind of detention without charge happens much too often in too many places.
I cannot taste ‘funny’ comments like this one posted by ehswan. It is a good thing that Human Rights Watch is already aware of the case. Let’s hope the international community can help this man soon.
Kind regards,
Jan Marien

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