LIEUTENANT COLONEL ALI BIN RASHID AL-ZAHRANI
Warden of Haer Prison (General Investigation Directorate Prison in al-Haer) since September 2019, Riyadh.
Al-Zahrani, comes from the sub-tribe of Hareer, within Zahran's tribe in al-Bahah, in the southern part of Saudi Arabia.
Before getting promoted to Warden of al-Haer Prison, al-Zahrani was the head of Military Police and Coordinator for Media in Jeddah Prisons. Al-Zahrani bears overall responsibility for the treatment of prisoners in Haer Prison.
In April 2020, Abdullah al-Hamid, one of the most prominent reformers in the Kingdom, collapsed and slipped into a coma while in al-Haer prison according to his family. According to Amnesty International, officials at Haer prison denied al-Hamid a long-overdue cardiac catheterization. He collapsed on the floor and lay there for hours before the prison guards took him to al-Shumaisi hospital. He later died.
As warden, al-Zahrani oversaw Salman Alodah's mistreatment beginning in September 2019, including his prolonged solitary confinement with no justification. Alodah has been in solitary confinement since his arrest in September 2017. From mid-May to mid-September 2020, Alodah was held in incommunicado confinement in Haer Prison. During this period, Alodah's health deteriorated and he lost half of his vision and hearing.
Al-Zahrani was also responsible for depriving Loujain Alhathloul of visits and allowing her only one phone call from May 2020 to October 2020. Al-Zahrani said these measures were taken to prevent Covid-19. In a video recording, he said it is a measure taken against many prisoners. Many families (who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation) of political detainees spoke to DAWN researchers confirming that the measures included practices that were not related to Covid-19. For example, three families other than Alhathloul's and Alodah's said that their family members in al-Haer prison were prevented from calling or having any contact with the outside world for months, even though there is no health reason to forbid phone calls.
DAWN requested a response from Lieutenant Colonel Ali bin Rashid al-Zahrani, by writing to the Saudi authorities on December 9, but no response was received by the time of publication.