Private sources revealed that the Coronavirus has spread among Palestinian and Jordanian detainees held in the Saudi Abha prison, amid complete neglect by the authorities and the prison administration, which deliberately holds them in harsh and inhuman detention conditions.
The Saudi security services had launched a massive campaign of arrests among Palestinians and Jordanians in Saudi since February 2019, targeting more than 60 people, all of whom have legal residence, some have lived in Saudi for more than 20 years, while some of their employers were arrested. They were arrested for rejecting the Israeli occupation and demanding the liberation of Palestine.
Over the course of 30 months, the Saudi authorities mastered the abuse of these detainees, and violated their most basic rights, not only depriving them of their freedom but also preventing them from receiving family visits in the first months of detention, cutting them off from the outside world for a long time, as well as subjecting them to brutal torture without considering their old age or health conditions. They were also forced to sign papers without knowing their contents.
They were subjected to legal violations as they were not yet able to appoint a lawyer to defend them, and according to the families of the detainees, many lawyers rejected the cases, most likely due to fear of security prosecutions or for receiving threats to stay away from this file. The requests of the families and detainees to hiring a lawyer were also rejected.
They were also not formally presented to the court until a year after their arrest, and they are tried in secret trials, without a lawyer as mentioned above, and the sessions were always postponed under the pretext of “following measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus”, which is the same argument they use to justify depriving them of family visits now.
They suffer from disastrous detention conditions, as many of them are subjected to deliberate medical neglect, and patients are detained in unsanitary living conditions. The cells are polluted, medical treatment is often denied, and the necessary food is not provided for every patient.
The Palestinian detainee, Dr. Mohamed Al-Khudari, is suffering the deprivation of family visits and not having contact with the outside world, he is held in extremely bad conditions despite his old age which puts his life in danger.
Detention conditions inside the Saudi prisons are very terrible, especially of political detainees, whose lives are put at risk with the spread of the Coronavirus among them, which requires urgent international intervention to save their lives.
We cannot comprehend why the international community is not moving to save the prisoners of conscience and protect them from the brutality of the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, which despite the egregiousness of their violations of human rights, the international community still cooperates with them at all levels, which is a blatant announcement that commercial interests are more important than human rights.