The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) has condemned the Saudi authorities for their persistence in arbitrarily detaining dozens of Palestinians and Jordanians and subjecting them to unfair trials based on trumped-up charges, and called for their immediate release.
Trial sessions were held 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-Khudari, a former professor at a university in Saudi Arabia.
“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,” GCRL said in a statement on Saturday.
“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,” the rights group underlined.
According to its statement, 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.
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 noted that the majority of these prisoners, who have been detained for months on charges of suspected political activities, were denied visits, kept in humiliating conditions, exposed to torture during investigation sessions, and deprived of medical care.
GCRL asserted that detainees faced unfair trials that did not respect international standards of fairness in a non-independent court that was formed under the pretext of fighting terrorism to silence opponents who are critical of the Saudi regime.
It described the trials as “secret and “without normal legal periods” and said the accused were denied their right to defend themselves, were not allowed to appoint lawyers.
Geneva Council has urged the UN to act urgently to stop flagrant human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, mainly arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and trials on charges related to freedom of opinion.
It also called on the international community to put an end to these violations and make sure those responsible are held accountable.
“GCRL 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.”