Brother-in-law of retired SJCC professor arrested in Saudi Arabia

Abdulrahman Sadhan reportedly subjected to torture in Saudi custody

Mikie Negrete, Times Staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The brother-in-law of a former San Jose City College photography professor was arrested and has reportedly been subjected to torture during his imprisonment, according to an email from Ciaran MacGowan, former SJCC photography instructor.

“It’s one of those dictator situations where they lock someone up and throw away the key,” MacGowan wrote in his email.

According to a letter written by Areej Sadhan, Abdulrahman Sadhan’s sister and MacGowan’s wife, Sadhan was arrested at his workplace on March 12, 2018.

No kind of warrant was ever provided in regards to his arrest, according to Sadhan’s letter.

The Sadhan family wasn’t notified of Abdulrahman Sadhan’s arrest until an eyewitness of the incident was able to get in contact with them, according to Sadhan’s letter.

For well over a year now, Sadhan has been under “enforced disappearance,” which means that an individual is arrested without having any kind of formal charges brought against them, and this individual also does not have access to a lawyer, according to Sadhan’s letter.

Fourteen months after his abduction, Sadhan’s family has not been allowed to visit or call him, according to Sadhan’s letter.

Sadhan’s father attempted to visit him on numerous occasions before eventually being ordered to back down by the Saudi Arabian government.

Families of other prisoners have reported to the Sadhan family that Sadhan has been subjected to severe torture throughout the course of his imprisonment.

Areej Sadhan has since reached out to various human rights agencies, searching for help and support for her brother.

Of the attempts to contact the Saudi Arabian government by the Sadhan family, Saudi officials never once responded to any inquiries in regards to the condition of Sadhan.

The most information the Sadhan family has received on the condition of Abdulrahman Sadhan came from the Saudi National Human Rights Commission, who informed the Sadhans in November 2018 that Abdulrahman Sadhan “had been transferred to Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh,” Areej Sadhan’s letter to The Times reads.

The website of the MENA Rights Group reported that Sadhan’s cell phone was taken from him upon his abduction, and that the day after his arrest, a crew of men wearing what seemed to be police uniforms were spotted forcefully entering his home.

According to KPIX, Sadhan has been subjected to such gruesome, life-threatening torture.

The Sadhans reached out to the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Pelosi and her staff are unable to take much actions since Abdulrahman Sadhan is not a United States citizen.

“We hope to get the attention of the American government but as yet neither Pelosi nor Feinstein have troubled themselves to speak to us personally,” MacGowan wrote in an email.

“We are repeatedly put off by their staff who say there’s nothing they can do for us,” MacGowan wrote in an email.

“So I have to seriously ask who exactly do these ‘ivory tower morons’ represent, if an abducted and tortured brother of an American citizen doesn’t get their attention?”

The Sadhan family did not disclose this situation for a considerable amount of time.

“The family kept this secret for over a year because all Saudis are terrorized,” MacGowan wrote.

“They were afraid that going public would make the situation worse,” MacGowan wrote.

“They did not (and do not) seek to anger the Saudi regime but after more than a year they are compelled to try something different for their ‘disappeared brother’: and so now that they have indeed spoken up they receive death threats on Twitter.”