A Saudi court issues prison sentences from ten to eighteen years to ten Nubian Egyptians who were arrested after holding a community event in 2019
Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court on 10 October handed prison sentences ranging from ten to eighteen years to ten Nubian Egyptians who were arrested after holding a community event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2019.
After an unfair trial that lacked minimum international standards of fair trial and due process, heavy prison sentences were handed down to the ten Egyptian Nubian citizens who have been detained since their arrest in July 2020 after attempting to organize a symposium in Riyadh.
The 10 are community leaders among the Nubian diaspora in Riyadh. When they were first arrested in 2019, Saudi authorities questioned them about their failure to include a picture of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the poster for their symposium about the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
One Nubian activist speculated that the group may have angered Egyptian authorities by issuing a statement about Nubians’ right to return to their ancestral lands in Egypt.
Instead of supporting the Egyptian citizens, the Egyptian consulate in Riyadh issued a statement supporting the Saudi authorities and calling on citizens to “respect the laws and regulations of the kingdom.”
The group’s charges included supporting a banned political group and spreading rumors on social media.
They received the heavy prison sentences following “an unfair trial that lacked minimum international standards of fair trial and due process,” according to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. They intend to appeal the sentences.
The trial of the ten Nubian Egyptians included five hearings, the first of which was held on 10 November 2021, while the fifth session was held on 14 June 2021, and lasted only a few minutes.
The families of the ten detainees were surprised by the presence of a new judge who presided over the hearing. He decided only to set the date of the sentencing hearing, after which he called the business to a close quickly.
Some detainees appeared in court very tired and in poor health.
This confirms that they did not receive necessary medical care in the Asir prison in the city of Abha, the administrative headquarters and the capital of the Asir region, where they were being held.
The allegations against them included: supporting a banned political group, spreading false and malicious rumors on social media, especially Facebook, and violating the law by establishing an unlicensed association.
The Nubian associations were established decades ago, and they do not have any political goals, as all their cultural and social activities aim at increasing knowledge among the members of the Nubian community and strengthening their bond with each other, especially while in exile from their mother country, Egypt.
The sentences against the ten Egyptians were as follows:
-Mohammed Fathallah Gumaa Shater, 37 years, an IT engineer and member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
-Dr. Faragallah Ahmed Yousif, 64 years, former head of the Nubian community in Riyadh, was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
-Hashim Shater, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh, was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
-Adel Sayed Ibrahim Fakir, 65 years, an accountant and current head of the Nubian community in Riyadh, coming from the village of Ballana in southern Egypt, was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The remaining six citizens were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 to 12 years:
-Gamal Abdullah Masri, head of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
-Ali Gumaa Ali Bahr, 37 years, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
-Saleh Gumaa Ahmed, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
-Abdulsalam Gumaa Ali, member of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
-Abdullah Gumaa Ali Bahr, 43 years, President of the Dahmit Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.
-Wael Ahmed Hassan, 54 years, head of the Thomas Nubian Village Association in Riyadh.