Saudi military forces imposed a strict military siege on the Al-Hawitat tribe, expelling them from their lands to build the NEOM project.
The military forces reinforced their tight blockade on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s orders, who faces internal and external problems and obstacles in completing Neom.
Saudi activist Alia Al-Huwaiti revealed that bin Salman imposed a siege on the people of her tribe and isolated them from the world.
Alia said in a tweet: Bin Salman isolates the villages of Al-Huwaitat in Neom from the world!”
She indicated that the Saudi forces operate electronic spy planes flying over the villages of Al-Huwaitat, monitoring them, terrorizing them, tracking them and imprisoning them.
Alia confirmed that the Al Saud authorities kidnapped singers and put in prisons, indicating that they would verify the names and numbers and announce them, respectively.
The past year, 2020, was not a quiet year for the ancient Al-Hawitat tribe. It rather witnessed killings and raids since the Saudi regime forcibly displaced them.
The Huwaitat tribe crisis began in January 2020, when officials affiliated with Mohammed bin Salman requested to meet the people of Al-Huwaitat.
They tried to negotiate with members of the tribe to leave their homes and lands and leave the area to complete the NEOM project.
The interviews conducted were not for the sake of negotiations as they were handled in the media, but were to displace the people from their lands.
Whether they accept the small sums of money offered by the state or reject it, they were told that the decision is enforceable and will not be reversed according to the Crown Prince’s orders.
Arrests and raids
Saudi security forces launched a comprehensive security campaign that included raiding homes and terrorizing people.
This campaign came after many Al-Huwaitat residents refused to accept financial compensation and leave their homes and lands for the Mohammed bin Salman Neom project.
The Saudi authorities aimed behind this campaign to terrorize the people and pressure them to expel them and impose unfair financial compensation.
The detainees from Al-Huwaitat were subjected to threats of permanent imprisonment or murder, and forcibly taking lands and homes.
Media and human rights organizations monitored that the sums offered by the Saudi authorities did not exceed 200,000 riyals.
However, the land’s actual value inhabited by the people of Al-Huwaitat is estimated in the millions.
In mid-April 2020, a Saudi security force killed Abdul Rahim Al-Huwaitat, who refused to leave his fathers and grandparents’ home.
The authorities give people the compensation under the media’s lens, alluding the public into believing that the tribesmen are happy and satisfied.
Human rights criticism
On the other hand, human rights activists launched a campaign under the title Justice for NEOM Victims to expose the Saudi regime’s crimes against the people of the region and achieve the principle of justice in their treatment.
They complained to the United Nations of the Saudi crimes against the Arab tribe, spanned more than 800 years.
Sarah Leah Whitson, former executive director of the Middle East division at Human Rights Watch, said that Huwaitat tribe is exposed to systematic violations and arrests to force them to leave their lands and homes for the sake of the NEOM project.