Saudi Arabia tortured activists including women, rights groups claim

Saudi Arabia has tortured, sexually harassed and mistreated several human rights activists detained since Ma...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 12:55 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 12:55 PM

Saudi Arabia has tortured, sexually harassed and mistreated several human rights activists detained since May this year, including women, two leading international rights groups have alleged.

Activists were repeatedly tortured by electrocution and flogging, leaving some unable to walk or stand properly, with marks on their bodies and uncontrolled shaking of the hands, Amnesty International said, citing three separate testimonies.

Activism

Continents and regions

Demographic groups

Females (demographic group)

Human rights

Human rights violations

Human Rights Watch

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Political advocacy groups

Political organizations

Population and demographics

Saudi Arabia

Society

Torture

Jamal Khashoggi

Misc people

Amnesty and pardons

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Law and legal system

One of the activists reportedly tried to take her own life repeatedly inside the prison, according to the testimonies, Amnesty said.

"In one reported instance, one of the activists was made to hang from the ceiling, and according to another testimony, one of the detained women was reportedly subjected to sexual harassment, by interrogators wearing face masks," the rights group said in a statement Tuesday.

In a separate but strikingly similar statement, citing "informed sources," Human Rights Watch claimed interrogators had tortured at least three of the Saudi women activists detained at the beginning of May.

The alleged torture included "administering electric shocks, whipping the women on their thighs, and forcible hugging and kissing," HRW said. After interrogations "women showed physical signs of torture, including difficulty walking, uncontrolled shaking of the hands, and red marks and scratches on their faces and necks," the sources said, according to HRW. At least one of the women attempted suicide multiple times, the rights group said.

The Saudi government rejected the allegations of torture in a statement to CNN.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's judiciary system does not condone, promote, or allow the use of torture. Anyone, whether male or female, being investigated is going through the standard judiciary process led by the public prosecution while being held for questioning, which does not in any way rely on torture either physical, sexual, or psychological," a Saudi official said.

Saudi Arabia has faced increased international scrutiny and pressure following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. The suspects include members of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's inner circle. The crown prince has denied any connection to the killing.

US President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday that he would not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or the Crown Prince over Khashoggi's death and dismemberment.

Amnesty: 'Shocking reports'

In its statement, Amnesty said several activists had been arbitrarily detained without charge since May in Dhahban Prison, in Jeddah.

Saudi authorities arrested a number of women's rights activists in May, weeks ahead of the kingdom's lifting of the ban on women driving on June 24. Accusations against the detainees included illegal contacts with foreign countries.

HRW said it was not identifying those who had allegedly been tortured because of concerns of reprisals against them or against sources who had revealed their abuse. Amnesty said prison authorities have reportedly warned detained activists against speaking out about mistreatment.

Both rights groups called for Saudi authorities immediately to release activists who were being held solely for their peaceful efforts to advocate human rights reforms.

"Only a few weeks after the ruthless killing of Jamal Khashoggi, these shocking reports of torture, sexual harassment and other forms of ill-treatment, if verified, expose further outrageous human rights violations by the Saudi authorities," said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Middle East research director.

"Saudi authorities are directly responsible for the well-being of these women and men in detention. Not only have they deprived them of their liberty for months now, simply for peacefully expressing their views, they are also subjecting them to horrendous physical suffering."

Amnesty and HRW also urged the country's western allies to call on the Saudi government to release women's rights activists and investigate allegations of abuse in detention.

"Any brutal torture of Saudi women activists would show no limit to the Saudi authorities' campaign of wanton cruelty against critics and human rights activists," said Michael Page, HRW's deputy Middle East director.

"Any government that tortures women for demanding basic rights should face withering international criticism, not unblinking US and UK support."

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was last week the first British minister to visit Riyadh since Khashoggi's killing. In a statement beforehand, the Foreign Office said Hunt would call on the Saudi authorities to do more to deliver justice and accountability for the Khashoggi family.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
Rochester
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 24°
Mason City
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 23°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Mild heading into the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Small Business Saturday

Image

L-O wins it all and PEM comes up short

Image

Snow tubing hill opens

Image

RFD high school program

Image

High School Firefighting program

Image

Overheated HVAC unit

Image

Full Forecast 10 PM 11/27/21

Image

Full Forecast 6PM 11/27/21

Image

Small Business Saturday Preview

Image

Here comes Santa Claus

Community Events