Stop the forced return of Abdulrahman al-Khalidi to Saudi Arabia.


the Minister of Interior


Chairperson of

the State Agency "National Security"


from Krasimir Kanev

Chairman of

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Dear Minister,

Dear Chairman,

We are reaching out to you regarding the widely circulated information in international and Bulgarian media about the risk of Saudi dissident Abdulrahman al-Khalidi being forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia. Such a step by Bulgarian authorities would constitute a grave violation of Bulgaria's commitments under international human rights law. It would endanger the life and security of Mr. al-Khalidi and seriously undermine our country's international reputation.

Abdulrahman al-Khalidi has been detained for two years at the Special Facility for Temporary Accommodation of Foreigners (SFTAF) in Sofia, Busmantsi district. In November 2021, he was detained upon his entry into Bulgaria. Prior to that, he resided with his family in the Republic of Turkey for seven years. There, he actively engaged in journalistic activities opposing the government of Saudi Arabia. He collaborated with circles close to journalist Jamal Khashoggi, brutally murdered in 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, as well as with the prominent Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, currently a refugee in Canada. Mr. al-Khalidi criticizes the authorities in Saudi Arabia, calls for the establishment of democracy in this authoritarian dictatorship, and for investigations into crimes committed by its agents both domestically and abroad. As a result, he has been repeatedly threatened online, including with death.

According to publicly available information, the State Agency for Refugees, as well as the judicial authorities in Bulgaria, have refused to grant his request for international protection. Therefore, he is threatened with return to Saudi Arabia. There, he would undoubtedly become a target of severe repression by the regime, similar to what many other political activists and dissidents have faced. His life and security are under serious threat. In doing so, Bulgaria is once again on the verge of becoming complicit in the persecution of a fighter against a dictatorial regime.

Therefore, we urge you not to take action to forcibly return Abdulrahman al-Khalidi! Ensure his security and human rights! Do not tarnish our country's image as a democratic rule of law state once again!

With respect, Krasimir Kanev