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Women activists and 5 men who have disappeared in the Saudi prison system

9 0 2
22.03.2019

With Human Rights Watch releasing a statement on 21 March on behalf of Saudi women activists brought to court in Riyadh a week earlier, world attention remains focused, and rightly so, on the appalling treatment the women are receiving at the hands of a Saudi regime determined to crush all dissent.

As the statement argues, the charges against them “appear almost entirely related to their human rights activities…including promoting women’s rights and calling for an end to Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system.” Noted too are credible allegations that the women were tortured in custody. The torture includes electric shock, whippings, sexual harassment and assault. Human Rights Watch and other international rights organisations continue to call for all charges to be dropped and for the women to be immediately released.

It is to be hoped that the attention of the world and the reputational damage being done to the kingdom and its putative leader Mohammed Bin Salman, will cause the authorities to finally free the women. MBS – as he is known – is already under a deep cloud of suspicion over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But what of all those others held in Saudi prisons? Let me tell you about five you probably have never heard of. Their stories have been documented by the London-based Saudi human rights organisation ALQYST.

Sulaiman Al-Dowaish, a religious scholar and preacher was arrested on 22 April 2016. He had been tweeting criticisms of Mohammed Bin Salman, the then deputy crown prince and the favourite of his father King Salman. When he ascended the throne in January 2015, Salman gave unprecedented power to his son, at the time just 28 years old. In addition to his title as deputy crown prince, MBS was named the defence minister, the head of the kingdom’s huge Public Investment Fund, and chair of the all-powerful Council for Economic and Development Affairs. He also took over Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest energy corporation.

READ: Brother of detained Saudi activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul speaks before Congress

Al-Dowaish had argued that putting so much power in the hands of one........

© Middle East Monitor