GENEVA- Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties ( GCRL) condemns the Saudi authorities’ continued detention of dozens of Palestinians and Jordanians, and subjecting them to unfair trials based on trumped-up charges, and calls for their immediate release.
Trial sessions were held, recently, on Monday, October 5, 2020, at the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh for the Palestinian citizen Dr. Muhammad al-Khudari (81 years old), and his son, Dr. Hani al-Khodari, a former professor at a university in the Kingdom.
This second session for al-Khudari and his son came a day after a similar court session was held for six Jordanian and Palestinian detainees, under the anti-terrorism law, and neither of them had legal representation. These detainees are part of 68 Palestinians and Jordanians who were arrested by the Saudi authorities in February 2019, without legal grounds, and they have been subjected for months to enforced disappearance, inappropriate detention conditions, torture, and mistreatment.
Saudi authorities began a mass trial on March 8, 2020, at the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, a counter-terror court in Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the hearings for every 3 or 4 detainees will continue until October 13th. The charges against them included “supporting Palestinian factions”, and there was no proof for threatening Saudi national security.
Al-Khudari, the father, worked for decades as a representative of Hamas in Saudi Arabia without any problems with officials in the country. He stepped down from this position years ago, due to his illness and his old age.
Geneva Council notes that the majority of these prisoners, who have been detained for months on charges of suspected political activities, were denied the visit, kept in degrading conditions, subjected to torture during the investigation, and deprived of medical care.
GCRL says that detainees were subjected to unfair trials that don’t respect international standards of fairness in a court that is not independent and formed under the pretext of fighting terrorism to silence opponents who are critical of the Saudi regime. The trials were secret, without normal legal periods, during which the accused were denied their right to defend themselves, and they were not allowed to appoint a lawyer.
Geneva Council calls on the United Nations to act urgently to stop flagrant human rights violations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, foremost arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and trials on charges related to freedom of opinion. It calls on the international community to put an end to these violations, and make sure those responsible are held accountable.
GCR restates its call to stop these trials, release the detainees, ensure their protection, provide prompt medical treatment for the patients, as well as adequate compensation for the length of the detention to which they were subjected.