Recent human rights reports revealed the miserable conditions of detention suffered by detainees in the Saudi Dammam prison, where the administration did not take any precautionary measures during the spread of the Corona epidemic to combat its spreading.
According to reports, Dammam Investigation Prison “has bathrooms in some cells, especially in solitary confinement right next to the head of the detainee. In other cells, there are insects and foul odors, according to the testimonies of newly released detainees or the families of some prisoners of conscience who are currently there.”
The families of detainees, especially prisoners of conscience, have always appealed to the international community and the competent authorities around the world to intervene to save their families.
Before her release, the family of activist Loujain Al-Hathloul always spoke about the harsh conditions of her detention. The family of the detained preacher Salman Al-Awda, who might lose his sight and hearing completely due to medical neglect as his health has deteriorated severely under poor detention conditions, and Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, whose health condition is at a very late stage.
The Palestinian detainee, Dr. Mohamed Al-Khudari, who lives in harsh detention conditions despite his old age and poor health condition was also deprived of family visits and communicating with the outside world and his life is at risk as long as he stays in such conditions.
Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh is the place with the most violations. It is the prison that houses the largest number of political detainees, both men, and women, all of whom complain about the poor conditions, torture, humiliating and degrading treatment, as well as their families who receive the same treatment during the visit.
African immigrants faced many violations inside places of detention, as hundreds of them were arbitrarily detained under the pretext of attempting to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, so they were held in the prisons of Jeddah and Mecca, but the vast majority of them were detained in Jazan prison, which was described by immigrants as “hell”.
It is a miserable place by all means, not suitable for human life, nor animals, full of insects and pollution, no beds to sleep on, no healthy food, not even water, the objection is faced with physical torture, and those who die, whether by disease or suicide, their bodies are left in its place for days, in addition to the lack of any tools for hygiene.
Detention centers in Saudi Arabia have turned into an additional kind of punishment on top of restricting freedoms. It turned into cemeteries, where those inside are considered dead and those released are reborn.
Statistics of the deteriorating health conditions of detainees are proving the kids of violations they face in Saudi prisons, and the death of Abdullah Al-Hamid as a result of medical negligence is an example.
The reality of Saudi prisons, as told by the detainees and their families, warns of a serious disaster that would claim the lives of dozens of detainees, or spread o diseases and epidemics thus harm the entire society through guards and security personnel or family visits who will eventually contract the corona virus.
The international community must act urgently to save the lives of Saudi detainees and ensure that they have all their rights guaranteed by international law, and to form an immediate and impartial committee to investigate all violations and abuses detainees are subjected to.