Urgent Action: Yemeni LGBTQI+ Rights Defender Arrested (Saudi Arabia: UA 110.20)

On 8 April 2020, 29-year-old Yemeni national Mohamed al-Bokari was arbitrarily arrested from his home in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and detained incommunicado at Malaz prison. Following his arrest, al-Bokari was accused of “perversion” and “imitating women” after he published a video stating his belief in personal freedoms of LGBTQI+ individuals.



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King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Ambassador Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20037
Phone: 202 342 3800
Contact Form: https://bit.ly/2KScqag
Twitter: @SaudiEmbassyUSA @rbalsaud
Salutation: Your Royal Highness

Your Majesty,

On 8 April 2020, Saudi security forces arbitrarily arrested Yemeni national Mohamed al-Bokari (born in 1991) from his home in al-Yarmouk in Riyadh. Mohamed al-Bokari was then transferred to Malaz prison in Riyadh where he remains detained. He has neither been formally charged nor informed when his trial will begin. According to a source close to him, Mohamed al-Bokari’s physical and mental health has significantly deteriorated, and he suffers from a heart condition. He has had no legal representation to date.

According to the source, Mohamed al- Bokari was held incommunicado for a month, beaten and tortured to force him to “confess” that he is a homosexual. Furthermore, following his arrest, Mohamed al-Bokari was accused of “perversion”, “imitating women” and “disturbing public order”. Al-Bokari was arrested after he appeared in a homemade video in which he responded to a question by one of his followers about his views on homosexuality by saying: “Every person is free to do what they will, and gay people have rights. Every person has rights. I hope you leave gay people be and not intervene in their lives. Every person is free.”

Two of Mohamed al-Bokari’s friends, both Yemeni nationals who were visiting him at home were also arrested with him on 8 April. Both men were later released and deported back to Yemen, while Mohamed al-Bokari was kept in detention. “We are very worried about Mohamed. He isn’t allowed any visits in prison, and he hasn’t contacted us in two weeks”, the source told Amnesty International.

I urge you to ensure that Mohamed al-Bokari is released immediately and unconditionally, especially in light of his deteriorating health and COVID-19 outbreak concerns. I further call on you to ensure that any charges against Mohamed al-Bokari are dropped and that he is allowed to remain in Saudi Arabia, as his deportation to Yemen could put his life at risk. In the interim, ensure that Mohamed al-Bokari is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, that he is immediately granted adequate medical attention and access to a lawyer.

Yours sincerely,