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  • A detainee released from the Dhahban Central Prison told the organization about the torture practices that prisoners, especially the Palestinians, endure.

    A detainee released from the Dhahban Central Prison told the organization about the torture practices that prisoners, especially the Palestinians, endure. | Photo: Twitter (@EuroMedRights)

Published 8 September 2019
Opinion

Palestinian families whose children were arrested or forcibly disappeared within the kingdom testified to the human rights organization.

The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean for Human Rights Monitor called on the Saudi authorities Saturday to disclose the fate and whereabouts of dozens of Palestinians who have disappeared inside the kingdom.

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The group named 60 people but said it could not give the exact number of the detainees. Within the community of the Palestinians living in Saudi Arabia, estimates show that the number goes beyond this one by far.

“The campaign in Saudi Arabia of arresting Palestinians is but one in a long series of human rights violations in the country,” said the group’s communication and media officer Selin Yasar.

11 Palestinian families whose children were arrested or forcibly disappeared over the last months testified to the Euro-Mediterranean organization.

Students, residents, academics, and businessmen are among the people who suddenly disappeared. Without any specific indictment against them, these people were isolated from the world and were not brought before the public prosecution. They were not allowed the right to communicate with families or lawyers.

"My biggest pain is not knowing anything about my husband. I do not know if he is alive, dead, healthy or tortured, and this made his disappearance more painful for my children, his parents, and his siblings," said the wife of a Palestinian engineer who works for a Saudi company.

His family and friends lost contact with him as he was attending the Passports Department in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. When asking of his whereabouts they denied any information about his fate.

Another example of enforced disappearance is the case of a family who lost contact with their son last July and know nothing about him since then, despite their repeated appeals to the authorities to reveal his whereabouts.

According to the family, their son was a former prisoner in Israeli prisons and was forcibly deported to Jordan, where he completed his university education, got married and then moved to work for a company in Saudi Arabia.

An Algerian detainee recently released from the Dhahban Central Prison in Saudi Arabia told the human rights organization about the torture practices that the prisoners, especially the Palestinians, suffer from by police and jailers.

The ex-detainee said he and his inmates were deprived of sleep and medical help when needed. He also testified that food was served in humiliating ways, sometimes offered in bags and that the jailers kept detainees shackled even while in their cells. 

The Dhahban Central Prison where authorities hold thousands of political and human rights prisoners for alleged terrorism and violence charges is located in a small and isolated village off the coast.

The European NGO says the practices of the Saudi authorities are a blatant violation of the basic requirements of justice, which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial including knowing the charges against them, the right to defense and access to a lawyer. 

The human rights experts called on King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to immediately order the authorities to reveal the fate of the Palestinians who were subjected to enforced disappearance, to release the detained without specific indictments, and to address the brutal methods used by the Saudi security forces.

The organization also urged the international community and Saudi Arabia’s allies in the West to pressure the country to spare its citizens and foreigners the anguish of secret detention and to end the violations of human rights.

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