Cablegate: Communication From Special Rapporteur On The

R 120750Z AUG 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Mission has received a communication from the Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. This
communication is number 34 on the Geneva 2008 Communications

2. Begin text of letter. Excellency, I have the honour to
address you in my capacity as Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights defenders pursuant to General
Assembly resolution 60/251 and Human Rights Council
resolution 7/8.

In this connection, I would like to bring to your
Government's attention information I have received concerning
Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed, a consultant, writer, news commentator, and
scholar. One of the focuses of his work is human rights
violations in Saudi Arabia. The harassment of family members
of Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed was the subject of an urgent appeal sent
by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on the
situation for human rights defenders to the Government of
Saudi Arabia on 20 July 2006.

According to information received:

Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed has not been granted permanent
residency, renewed travel authorization or renewed employment
authorization in the United States of America although he
meets the full statutory requirements for all three
applications to be approved. He made the applications in
November 1999, on 5 March 2008 and on 14 June 2004
respectively. Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed was granted asylum in the
United States of America on 13 August 1998 and became
eligible to apply for permanent residency one year
afterwards. Having been granted asylum he is also eligible
for a Refugee Travel Document and had made successful
applications for this document in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Having been granted asylum Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed requires an
Employment Authorization Document to work in the United
States of America. He made successful applications for this
document in 1996 and every year from 1998 until 2003.

When he applied for permanent residency Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed
was told that his application would take 482 to 512 days to
process. More than eight years later his application has
still not been processed. When he applied for his Refugee
Travel Document he was told that his application would take
approximately 235 to 265 days to process. More than five
years later his application has still not been processed.
When he applied for his Employment Authorization Card he was
told that his application would take approximately 80 days to
process. More than four years later his application has not
been processed.

Being unable to travel has an adverse effect on Mr. Ali
Al-Ahmed's ability to work. He has been unable to attend
conferences and meetings in other countries. Moreover, he
has been unable to obtain grants for projects overseas.
Although he has used all administrative means possible, Mr.
Ali Al-Ahmed has been unable to complete his application

Concern is expressed that delays in Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed's
application for permanent residency, to renew his travel
document and to renew his employment authorization card
impede his non-violent activities in defense of human rights.

While I do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these
allegations, I would like to refer Your Excellency's
Government to the fundamental principles set forth in the
Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals,
Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect
Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
and in particular articles 1 and 2 which state that "everyone
has the right individually or in association with others, to
promote and to strive for the protection and realization of
human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and
international levels" and that "each State has a prime
responsibility and duty to protect, promote and implement all
human rights and fundamental freedoms, inter alia, by
adopting such steps as may be necessary to create all
conditions necessary in the social, economic, political and
other fields, as well as the legal guarantees required to
ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction, individually
and in association with others, are able to enjoy all those
rights and freedoms in practice".

Furthermore, I would like to bring to the attention of
your Excellency's Government the following provision of the
Declaration: article 5 a) which establishes that for the
purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and
fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually
and in association with others, at the national and
international levels, to meet or assemble peacefully.

I urge your Government to take all necessary measures to
guarantee that the rights and freedoms of the aforementioned
person are respected and that accountability of any person
guilty of the alleged violation is ensured. I also request
that your Government adopts effective measures to prevent
recurrence of these acts.

Moreover, it is my responsibility under the mandate
provided to me by the Human Rights Council, to seek to
clarify all cases brought to my attention. Since I am
expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights
Council, I would be grateful for your cooperation and your
observations on the following matters:

1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the
case accurate.

2. Please provide information on how prohibiting Mr.
Ali Al-Ahmed's movement is compatible with international
human rights norms and standards as contained in the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

3. Please provide information on why there have been
such delays on the processing of Mr. Ali Al-Ahmed's

I would appreciate a response within sixty days. I
undertake to ensure that your Government's response to each
of these questions is accurately reflected in the report I
will submit to the Human Rights Council for its consideration.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest
consideration. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights defenders. End text of letter.



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