Saudi arrests Al-Huwaitat
The Saudi authorities launched a new arrest campaign against individuals of Al-Huwaitat tribe who continue to refuse their displacement from their lands to establish the NEOM project. Together for Justice organisation has not been able to confirm the numbers and names of detainees so far.
In January 2020, security forces used violence against the tribe resulting in the killing of Abdul Rahim Al-Huwaiti on April, 13, 2020, who refused to leave his home and published a series of videos on social media criticizing the practices of the authorities against him and his tribe, and forcing them to leave the land where they lived for generations in Tabuk governorate, describing it as “state terrorism”.
He also spoke about the scenario of his killing at the hands of security forces “that he would be accused of using violence against the security forces”, and they did exactly as he expected.
Following Abdul Rahim’s killing, dozens of people of the tribe got arrested at different times, including women. In February, the number of detainees of Al-Huwaitat reached 22 including two children, according to Justice for the Victims of NEOM Campaign.
Alia Al-Huwaiti, Saudi activist and member of Al-Huwaitat tribe, said that “since the assassination of Abdul-Rahim Al-Huwaiti on April 13, 2020 by security forces’ bullets for refusing to be deported from his home, the authority’s repressive policy has not changed. It arrest the sons of Kheraiba one after the other another every two weeks”.
Alia stressed that the Saudi authorities “have destroyed the entire family of Abdul Rahim Al-Huwaiti, after they waited for nearly seven months for the martyr’s blood to “cool down”, to arrest his family and force them to give up their land, especially since the sons of Ahmed Rafi Abu Taqiqa (including Abdul Rahim) are among those who have vast properties, lands and farms, as well as the famous “Abu Taqiqa Palace” in “Neom.”
She added, “The security authorities adopt methods that simulate armed gangs, as they do not directly confront them, but rather arrest, kidnap and forcibly disappears them one by one, including children and women.”
Together for Justice denounces all forms of oppression practiced by the Saudi authorities against members of Al-Huwaitat tribe, and stresses that the ongoing arbitrary arrests and abuse against members of the tribe, and denying them their legal redress, is a great crime added to the crime of forced displacement, which amounts to a crime against humanity.