A brief look at human rights violation: (part 16) Saudi Arabia

Blog ID : #3158
Publish Date : 12/18/2020 23:27
Saudi Arabia face international criticism for its human rights record most of the times. Political prisoners are held in detention, and democracy is silenced by threats of intimidation and arrests.

Saudi Arabia face international criticism for its human rights record most of the times. The country’s treatment of Saudi dissidents and human rights activists is intolerable. Political prisoners are held in detention, and democracy is silenced by threats of intimidation and arrests. In this report we take a brief look at some human rights violations in Saudi Arabia in past four weeks.

- Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, 31, was arrested in May 2018 with around a dozen other women activists just weeks before the historic lifting of a decades-long ban on female drivers, a reform they had long campaigned for. Saudi authorities late last month transferred her case to the draconian anti-terrorism court, her family said, raising the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence, despite international pressure for her release. "There are accusations of dealing with states unfriendly to the kingdom and with providing classified information and other issues like that," said Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Hathloul's treatment has been sharply criticised by rights groups. "Loujain's charges don't mention any contact with 'unfriendly' states -- they explicitly cite her contact with the EU, the UK and the Netherlands. Does Saudi Arabia consider them as enemies?" said her sister Lina al-Hathloul. "The charges don't mention anything about sensitive information either, they are all about her activism -- they accuse her of speaking about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia in international conferences and to NGOs." She continued.


- A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Walid Fitaihi, a doctor who holds dual American and Saudi nationality, to six years in prison on charges that included illegally obtaining U.S. citizenship. He was arrested in November 2017 as Saudi authorities detained hundreds of business executives, government officials and royal family members. ­Fitaihi was held for nearly two years without trial and tortured while in custody, he told family members. He was released from custody last year, but Fitaihi and his family remained under a travel ban with their Saudi assets frozen. And he continued to face accusations. The sentence imposed on Fitaihi was for charges that included obtaining U.S. citizenship without official permission and posting messages on Twitter supporting the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
Fitaihi, who was educated at George Washington University and Harvard, is well-known in the kingdom as the founder of a private hospital, a motivational speaker and a television host with millions of followers on social media. “They kept asking me, ‘Why do you have so many followers?’ ” Fitaihi said in the interview.


- Abdullah Al-Ouda, son of the Saudi preacher Salman Al-Ouda, revealed that his father "lost almost half of his ability to hear and see" in prison. Of his father, Al-Ouda's son tweeted: "Praying for the harmony of hearts and the good of people cost this man his freedom, and made him victim to harm, torture, pressure and denial of treatment, while being placed in solitary confinement since his arrest (more than three years and few months)." In September 2017, the Saudi authorities arrested prominent preachers and activists in the country, most notably Salman Al-Ouda, Awad Al-Qarni and Ali Al-Omari, on charges of "terrorism and conspiracy against the state", amid calls made by international and Islamic personalities and organisations for their release.


- A detained Saudi prince has reportedly been moved to a secret location by the authorities, prompting a European lawmaker to write a letter urging for clarity on the location of the royal and his father. Thirty-seven-year-old Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, was detained in 2018 without any formal charges. They recently taken to an "undisclosed location". In a letter addressed to Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the EU, Belgian politician and Member of the European Parliament Marc Tarabella said: "It is clear that their current deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, and amounts to a violation of Saudi domestic and international obligations."