(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should immediately release two citizens held without charge for two years because of their religious beliefs, Human Rights Watch said today. Officials arrested Sultan al-`Anzi, 33, and Sa`ud al-`Anzi, 35, on May 14, 2012, and have not responded to multiple requests from Human Rights Watch and an organization for the Ahmadiyya Muslim religious group for information on their whereabouts and condition.
Activists with knowledge of the case say that the two men had adopted the Ahmadiyya interpretation of Islam. Saudi religious authorities encouraged them to abandon their belief, and three months later, officials detained them. Human Rights Watch wrote to King Abdullah on August 13, 2012, urging him to order the men’s release, but received no response.
“Not only have Saudi authorities interfered with the personal beliefs of these two men, but they’ve left them sitting in jail for two years in legal limbo with no end in sight,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The kingdom’s repression of religious dissidents stains its human rights record.”