Prisoners of Conscience

Human rights organizations call on Saudi to reveal Palestinians forcibly detained fate

Human rights organizations called on the Saudi authorities to immediately disclose the fate of dozens of Palestinians who have been subjected to enforced disappearance and torture, and release them immediately unless they are charged with any offense.

The organizations said that they could not give an exact figure for the number of Palestinian detainees, but names of about 60 people were obtained, while estimates of the Palestinian community in the Kingdom that the number far exceeds that.

The testimonies of 11 Palestinian families whose relatives have been arrested or forcibly disappeared in recent months during their stay or visit to the Kingdom, including students, academics and businessmen, have been documented.

The organizations explained that they are isolated from the outside world without specific indictments, or presented to the Public Prosecution, and are not allowed to contact their relatives or communicate with their lawyers.

Among those who documented their testimonies were the family of an engineer from the occupied West Bank who lost contact with him early last month during his review of the Passports Department in Riyadh. Moreover, a family of a businessman, who is an an elderly Palestinian has been living in Jeddah for decades and has disappeared since July.

He had also monitored detentions of Palestinian-born pilgrims of Arab nationality during their annual pilgrimage, but their families remained silent on their conditions of detention in the hope of ending the nightmare of their forced disappearance and returning to normal life.

“The campaign of arrests targeting Palestinians is part of a long series of violations that add to the kingdom’s horrific human rights record.”

“The practices of the Saudi authorities against Palestinian detainees raise question marks about their human rights and humanitarian situation that do not comply with international legal norms,” human rights organizations said.

Human rights organizations called on the Saudi authorities to immediately disclose the fate of dozens of Palestinians who had been subjected to enforced disappearance, release others held without specific indictments, and open an urgent investigation into these cases and prosecute those responsible.

A recently released Algerian detainee revealed the practices, violations and methods of torture suffered by detainees, especially Palestinians, in Dhahban Prison, western Saudi Arabia.

The former detainee, who left the territory of the Kingdom, said that “the jailers are depriving detainees from sleeping or obtaining any treatment, although some of them are old.”

Dhahban prison is located in a small village 20 km from the coastal city of Jeddah, where the Al-Saud authorities are holding thousands of people on political and human rights issues.

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