Saudi Arabia has reportedly been torturing human-rights activists held in its prisons without charge for over six months

  • Saudi Arabia has tortured several human-rights defenders, including a number of women, held without charge since May 2018, according to reports by human-rights groups.
  • Amnesty International obtained harrowing testimonies that detail sexual harassment and assault, electrocution and other forms of torture by Saudi authorities. Human Rights Watch also reported similar abuse at Saudi prisons.
  • Some of the detainees were so badly harmed that they were left unable to walk or stand properly; one detainee repeatedly made attempts on her own life while in detention.
  • Saudi Arabia has been under more scrutiny than ever following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reportedly at the direction of the Saudi crown prince who has been leading a crackdown on dissent.

Saudi Arabia has been torturing a number of rights defenders, including women, held without charge since May 2018, according to reports by human-rights groups.

Amnesty International obtained three separate testimonies which reveal instances of sexual harassment, electrocution, and flogging while in detention at the country’s Dhahban Prison, it reported Tuesday. Some of the detainees were so badly harmed that they were left unable to walk or stand properly; one repeatedly attempted to take her own life while inside the prison, the report said.

According to testimony cited by Amnesty, one activist was hanged from the ceiling. Another female activist was sexually assaulted by masked interrogators.

Human Rights Watch also reported similar torture at the hands of Saudi authorities, including whipping and forcible hugging and kissing.

“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,” Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, wrote Tuesday.


Read more:
Saudi Arabia has detained several prominent human rights activists in a massive crackdown- and it’s sparked a huge feud with Canada

Several prominent Saudi activists were arbitrarily detained earlier this year and were held without charge or legal representation. Award-winning rights campaigner Samar Badawi was swept up in the crackdown, contributing to a massive diplomatic rift with Canada.

Saudi Arabia has been under more scrutiny than ever in the wake of the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reportedly at the direction of the Saudi crown prince who has been leading a crackdown on dissent.

“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” Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, wrote in the report.

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