Al-Torfiya Report: Saudi Five-Stars Prison?

Saudi state-owned “Al-Ekhbariya” TV channel broadcast a program filmed inside Al-Torfiya women’s prison in Al-Qassim, where prisoners are allegedly enjoying hotel-like detention conditions.

The TV program sparked outrage among the prisoners’ families, as it totally contradicts their real detention conditions.

The TV report claimed that female prisoners held in Al-Torfiya prison are treated like guests who enjoy video games, a beauty salon, a gym, a library, a nursery, and other hotel-like conditions.

Dozens of female political prisoners are held in Al-Torfiya prison amid very difficult and inhuman detention conditions.

The jailed activist Yasmine Al-Ghafaili is one of those arbitrary held in Al-Torfiya prison. Yasmine was arrested in May 2021 for her political views on Twitter.

However, Yasmine appeared in the program, thanking the prison administration for meeting the prisoners’ demands mainly by improving their detention conditions, and raising questions about the program’s credibility.

No matter how luxurious the detention conditions are, these female political prisoners should not remain in jail as they did not commit any crime or fault. They are arbitrarily arrested for only practising their right to free speech.

The state-owned TV program should not be taken as a reference. The Saudi state media have long waged incitement and distortion campaigns against opponents and activists.

We stress the urgent need for a UN investigation into the circumstances that forced Yasmine Al-Ghafaili to appear in the state-promoting TV program that aims to whitewash the Kingdom’s poor human rights record.

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