Press Release: UNH, Don't Renew Ties with Saudis

Calls Upon UNH Not to Renew Ties with Saudi Security College

Press Release: May 26, 2020

The Middle East Crisis Committee (MECC) has called on the administration of the University of New Haven to halt any talks on renewing its agreement with the King Fahd Security College of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The current contract with the police/military college apparently ends in June 2021 and MECC has called for several years for the college to break all ties with the Saudi monarchy due to its human rights record and because of its over five year war in Yemen. MECC sent a letter (below) to UNH administrators on May 16.

Stanley Heller, Executive Director of MECC, said, "We wrote to President Steven Kaplan on May 16 outlining the reasons we object to any UNH support for police and military institutions of the Saudi absolute monarchy. We mentioned the mockery of justice that was the Saudi investigation and trial of the killers of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, a murder that the U.S. Senate declared unanimously to be the responsibility of Crown Prince Salman. We cited the disquieting fact that UNH professor (and Associate Vice President of the Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at UNH) Henry C. Lee is part of the editorial board of the Saudi Forensic Society, even though the Governing Board running that Society includes Salah Al-Tubaigy whom Turkish media claim brought the bone saw to Istanbul where Khashoggi had been lured, murdered and dismembered. We objected to UNH's skills being transferred to Saudi police who are charged with arresting people for actions for which they have a human right to do such as not following Wahhabi Islam, for advocating for democracy, or for calling for full equality for women. Finally since the King Fahd Security College is also a military college we again protested UNH collaboration with that college as its assistance is giving aid to a horrendous attack on Yemenis that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of children and other civilians."

Heller said, "We called for UNH not to bargain any new contract with a Saudi institution involved with the Saudi government. However, it's been over a week and there's been no reply to our letter from any of UNH administrators. Our understanding is that UNH is the only U.S. college directly helping the Saudi police and military. It's a national scandal."

Complete background about UNH and its relation to the Saudi college can be found here.

The Middle East Crisis Committee was founded in 1982 in New Haven, CT

Middle East Crisis Committee

President Steven Kaplan;
Provost Thomas Gaboury
Dr. Henry C. Lee

May 16, 2020

Via email

Dear President Kaplan, Provost Gaboury, Dr. Lee:

We have called upon you many times in the past to break UNH's ties to the Saudi police/military college, King Fahd Security College (KFSC). You've never answered us directly, but we have heard one objection ending ties is that UNH signed a contract with the college. The press reports that the contract signed in 2016 was for a duration of five years. By our calculation that means it should end in June of 2021. We call upon you not to renew the contract or make any new contract with the college or any part of the Saudi political or justice system and pledge that to the U.S. public.

*** The Saudi justice system has gotten no better in the years in which you helped the police/military college. The most egregious example is that of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi authorities only engaged in an investigation of his disappearance after enormous international pressure. No independent body free of royal direction did the investigation. The Saudi investigation supposedly led to a number of arrests and trials, but was widely derided because it left out the people at the very top of the conspiracy to kill Khashoggi, including Crown Prince Salman. The U.S. Senate in December 2018 took the near unprecedented step of unanimously condemning Crown Prince Salman for the murder of Khashoggi. I used the word "supposed" earlier because the arrests and trial have been entirely in secret. Even the names of those found guilty have not been released. Khashoggi's remains have not been returned to his family nor have authorities ever said what happened to his remains.

*** There is the matter of the connection between Dr. Lee and Salah al-Tubaigy whom Turkish authorities said brought a bone saw to the interrogation of Khashoggi and dismembered his body. Tubaigy as of May 3 of this year is still listed as a member of at the Saudi Forensic Society. Dr.. Lee is listed as a member of the Editorial Board of that Society's magazine. When we first raised this issue in 2018 University spokesperson Ms. Lyn Chamberlin told the media that it was a different al-Tubaigy. There was never any evidence presented that two Saudi forensic scientists with the same name actually existed. In a sense al-Tubaigy is Lee's boss in the society. How can a UNH employee have a relationship with an institution upon whose governing board brazenly sits a man likely sentenced to death for murder?

*** To reiterate old points your program with KFSC will make its graduates more efficient in capturing people doing things that are non-criminal or even praiseworthy in almost every other country and which are in accord with universal human rights principles. Among these things are following Shia Islam or other religious practices not mandated by the monarchy, questioning aspects of religion altogether, calling for full equality for women and an end to the guardianship system, and advocating for democracy. These are considered serious crimes in the kingdom. Even if Saudi officials only used UNH taught techniques for actual grave crimes, the Saudi use of cruel and unusual punishments like whipping, beheading and crucifixion should make cooperation with them forbidden. Lastly, since KFSC is also a military college UNH is helping an institution whose graduates have been engaged in cruel warfare in Yemen which likely has killed tens of thousands of children.

*** The Crown Prince who negotiated the last contract with UNH bin Naif will not be negotiating any new one. He was replaced as Crown Prince by Mohammed bin Salman. This March bin Salman had bin Naif arrested and put in prison on a charge of treason.

So there are multiple reasons to suspend all cooperation with KFSC immediately and for UNH not to bargain any new contract with a Saudi institution involved with the Saudi government.


Stanley Heller
Executive Director
Middle East Crisis Committee

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