Member of the Saudi governmental Human Rights Commission
Samha Saeed Alghamdi, Member of the Saudi governmental Human Rights Commission, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Alghamdi was appointed to the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) in August 2016. She graduated in 1983 from King Saud University and obtained a Master’s in Social Work from the same institution. Prior to her position on the HRC, she was an adviser to the Undersecretary of the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs for Social Care and Family.
Alghamdi was a member of Saudi Arabia’s HRC at the time Loujain Alhathloul received a visit from the Commission while in prison. According to the family of Loujain Alhathloul and their court memorandum, on or about November 26, 2018, a committee from the Human Rights Commission, including Amal al-Moallimi, Wafa Alsaleh, and Alghamd, visited Alhathloul in prison to inquire about her allegations of torture, sexual harassment, electrocution, and mistreatment.
According to her family and court records, Alhathloul told the three members of the Commission about incidents of torture, sexual harassment, electrocution, and threats of rape and mistreatment in prison. Alhtathoul asked them, “Will you be able to protect me?”
According to her family, the commission members said they could not help her. There is no indication that Alghamdi or her colleagues took any action regarding Alhathloul’s complaint. In its annual reports, the Comission mentioned having received complaints about torture and mistreatment but did not list any action taken. Indeed, months later, a representative of the Human Rights Commission spoke to the Saudi media outlet Okaz, denying reports of torture and mistreatment in Saudi prisons.
The refusal of Alghamdi and her colleagues to investigate Alhathloul’s complaint and take appropriate action violated their obligation, under the Saudi Statute governing the Commission, to “receive and verify complaints related to human rights and take legal measures pertaining to them.” Indeed, in its 2019 annual report, the Commission wrote that its members “monitored the procedures and trial to make sure that individuals got their rights according to the law.”
See cases: Loujain Alhathloul