Prisoners of Conscience

Saudi regime launches campaigns to arrest more Palestinians in the Kingdom

Human rights sources revealed that the Saudi regime has escalated the campaigns of arbitrarily detaining Palestinians residing in the Kingdom without legal support.

The sources stated that the Saudi authorities launched a new campaign of arbitrary arrests in recent hours, targeting a number of Palestinian residents, against the background of supporting the Palestinian resistance.

According to the sources, a number of those arrested in this campaign are relatives or children of those arrested last April for the same reason.

Civil and human rights organizations in the Kingdom emphasized the refusal to continue arbitrary detention campaigns against the Palestinians, considering that supporting the resistance is not a crime that requires arrest.

Those authorities demanded that the Saudi authorities immediately release all detainees in the latest campaign, and stop the mock trials that the authorities are preparing to hold early next month for those who arrested them last year.

Amnesty International has previously called on the authorities of Saudi to immediately release the Palestinian detainees, led by Hamas leader Muhammad al-Khudari and his son Hani, who were detained without any legal reason.

This came in a letter addressed to King Salman bin Abdulaziz, by the International Human Rights Organization, and included a condemnation of the torture suffered by the movement’s leader and his son, despite being sick with cancer.

The letter stated that Al-Khudari, 81, was arrested from his home in the city of Jeddah (west of the Kingdom), at the dawn of April 4, 2019, without submitting an arrest warrant, before a group in civilian clothes stopped his son, Hani, 41. While leaving his workplace at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah (west), he remains in detention without charge.

He added that the two men forcibly disappeared for a month after their arrest, and were held incommunicado and in solitary confinement during the next two months of their detention.

One month after the arrest of al-Khudari the father, according to the letter, his wife received a phone call from the authorities in Dhahban prison, requesting a medical report on his condition, especially since two weeks before his arrest he underwent surgery.

“Amnesty” indicated that there is serious concern for the health of “Al-Khudari” during his detention, especially that he is ill with cancer, and recent medical tests indicate before his arrest that his tumor has grown, which requires urgent medical care.

The organization noted that Al-Khudari and his son were being held arbitrarily in Dhahban prison, without charge or trial, and they were repeatedly interrogated without the presence of a lawyer.

“We confirmed that the two men were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment during their detention,” she added.

The letter called on the Saudi monarch to release them, unless they are charged with a recognized criminal offense.

Al-Khudhari and his son were not the only Palestinians arrested without charge, as the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, based in Geneva, said in a statement issued on September 6 that Riyadh was forcibly hiding 60 Palestinians.

Euro-Med Monitor stated that the detainees, students, academics, businessmen and former pilgrims, were isolated from the outside world without specific accusation sheets or presented to the jurisdiction (the prosecution), and they were not allowed to contact with their families or communicate with their lawyers, and their money was also confiscated.

On September 9, Hamas announced the arrest of Al-Khudari and his son, and said that he had been responsible for managing “the relationship with the Kingdom for two decades, and he also assumed senior leadership positions in the movement.”

She added that the arrest comes “within a campaign that affected many of the Palestinian people residing in Saudi Arabia,” without further clarification.

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