Rights defender forcefully deported to Saudi Arabia and held incommunicado

According to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), on 28th May 2017 Qatari authorities deported Saudi human rights defender Mohammed Abdullah Al-Otaibi to Saudi Arabia while he and his wife were en route to Norway, where they had been granted political asylum. Al-Otaibi had fled to Qatar on 30th March 2017 after his case had been referred to the Saudi Specialised Criminal Court. 

There are serious concerns over the activist's fate. In its statement, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights strongly “deplores the Qatari authorities' deportation of Mohammed Abdullah Al-Otaibi and his wife to Saudi Arabia, which constitutes a flagrant violation of all human rights instruments as he faces arrest, unfair trial, and the possibility of torture in Saudi Arabia”. He currently faces charges of working in an unlicensed society, signing and publishing statements, and practicing human rights activities. GCHR reports that he is being held incommunicado and his trial is scheduled for 12th July 2017.

In addition, both the Qatari and Saudi authorities have violated international conventions on refugees. According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information:

“The forcible deportation of al-Otaibi, which puts his life and personal safety at risk, constitutes a flagrant violation a flaw by the Qatari government, as well as a serious infringement of Article (33) of the Refugee Convention, which prohibits states to ‘expel or return (refouler) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his (or her) life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion".