Letter to University of New Haven Calling for
An End to Its Collaboration with Saudi Arabia's
King Fahd Security College

(We are collecting signatures for this letter. Please don't post to websites or email lists yet.)

Steven Kaplan
University of New Haven

We understand the University of New Haven has set up a BA program for the King Fahd Security College in Riyadh. Experts from UNH's Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences will advise their counterparts at KFSC and will specialize in "criminal justice, homeland security and intelligence studies".

We call on the University of New Haven to immediately terminate this program. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a serial human rights violator and is committing the war crime of aggression against neighboring Yemen. No university should offer the government of the KSA any security assistance especially in those specialties which help it commit grave violations to persons' basic rights and well-being.

The kingdom considers "criminal" a whole host of acts that are protected by rights to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, rights to peacefully assemble and protest, and rights to practice religion. The kingdom is an absolute monarchy and does not respect any of those rights. For example the KSA levies severe punishment up to execution for the alleged crimes of "witchcraft", "apostasy", and "homosexual" acts. These are crimes only in the imagination of extreme bigots.

UNH is specifically going to create a curriculum specialization in "homeland security". With a regime that sees all dissent as illegitimate UNH staff will unavoidably be helping the regime stamp out movements for democracy.

The advanced techniques developed at UNH will be used to track down people who peacefully protest abuses of government or simply discuss these matters. For example it will be helping the Saudi police find bloggers like Raif Badawi who is in prison for ten years with an additional sentence of 1,000 lashes despite winning Europe's Sakharov Prize for his commitment to freedom.

As is well known there's no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia. Won't UNH curriculum and skills be used by the kingdom's rulers in its notorious persecution of its Shia citizens?

How will UNH make sure its skills taught to Saudi police won't be used to track down women involved in such legal offenses such as driving cars, violating guardian laws, and not wearing an abaya? The answer is it can't.

The KSA "justice system" often resorts to barbaric punishments like whipping, beheading and crucifixion. It is unconscionable for UNH staff to help KSA security personnel more efficiently arrest those who will eventually suffer such cruel and unusual punishments.

Finally, Saudi Arabia is involved in a cruel and unprovoked war against forces in neighboring Yemen. Over ten thousand civilians are dead. The wreck of water and sewage systems has resulted in plague of cholera with over 400,000 cases as of July 2017. How can UNH give any security assistance to a government involved in such a war crime?

End the program with King Fahd Security College and all collaboration with Saudi security and police.


(Names being gathered)

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Background and Sources (Not part of the letter):

---- UNH "excited" to put its skills "at the service of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's next generation of security professionals." The college has already started the program with the KSA security college. Initial UNH announcement June 2016.

----On July 12, 2017 the Sunday Times (UK) wrote about complicity of the British College of Policing in the arrests and prosecution of Saudi dissidents. It highlights the death penalty sentence given to Abdulkareem al-Hawaj whose crime was "spreading information" via a What's App social media when he was 16 years old. Surely the University of New Haven does not want to collaborate in similar offenses against youths.

----The Independent (UK) in a March 2017 report about two transgendered Saudis beaten to death by Saudi Police notes "Homosexuality is punishable by death while any sex-change surgery is illegal."

Raif Badawi has been in prison for five years after receiving a sentence of ten years and ----1,000 lashes for creating an online forum "Liberal Saudi Network" where he wrote about secularism, democracy and human rights. He received 50 lashes, but the rest have been suspended after worldwide protest. He was awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2015.

----Executions in the kingdom are most usually by beheading though stoning is also a possibility. "Crimes" that get the death penalty include drug possession, rape, robbery, adultery, sex between members of the same sex, and apostasy.

----Just after President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia "a court in Saudi Arabia has upheld a death sentence for a disabled man who was arrested after he attended a protest, campaigners have said."

----Repreive writes, "Ali al-Nimr was just 17 years old when he was sentenced to death by crucifixion in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprising. He was accused of participation in an illegal demonstration and a large number of other offences. These include 'explaining how to give first aid to protestors' and using his blackberry to invite others to join him at the protest." He was sentenced to "death by crucifixion". Amnesty International in 2013 explained the crucifixion penalty meted out to five men that year.

---- "The Saudi embassy is also revealed to pay close attention to the political and religious beliefs of Saudi university students studying in Australia with reports sent to the Mabahith, the General Investigation Directorate of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the Kingdom's brutal secret police that deals with domestic security and counter-intelligence. " a report from Australia

----Saudi Arabia's Shi'a Muslim minority continued to face entrenched discrimination that severely limited their access to government services and state employment and their freedom of religious expression. The authorities continued to arrest, detain and sentence Shi'a activists to prison terms or death after unfair trials before the Specialized Criminal Court [SCC]. In June, the SCC sentenced 14 members of the Shi'a minority to death after convicting them on charges that included shooting at security officials, inciting chaos and participating in demonstrations and riots. Nine others received prison terms and one was found not guilty.

---- Saudi guardianship explained. List of seven things Saudi women may not do from "The Week". In 2014 the kingdom decided a Saudi terrorism court would try women drivers.

---- King Fahd Security College is involved with the KSA program to stamp out drug use Saudi Arabia levies the death penalty for a range of drug offenses. "Security forces have a national responsibility in combating the dangerous drug scourge and creating a safe environment for Saudi youth, said Maj. Gen. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Khiliwi, director general of King Fahad Security College."

---- There have been over 10,000 child deaths because of the Yemen War. This New York Times article is based on a 2016 UNICEF report. It reports ten thousand excess child deaths from disease in 2015 as a result of the war.

"1 Million Malnourished Children At Risk Of Cholera In Yemen" - NPR report The numbers of adults and children suffering already are in the hundreds of thousands. Oxfam expects 600,000 cases of cholera by Sept. 2017

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