Saudi Arabia tortures female detainees, say UK MPs

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Saudi Arabia tortures female detainees, say UK MPs

LONDON

The female activists are subjected to torture and kept in cruel and inhumane conditions in Saudi Arabia, a report by a cross-party group of British lawmakers said on Monday.

A Detention Review Panel (DRP) of MPs said in a damning report that Saudi officials could be culpable for abuse at “the highest levels…meeting the threshold for the rime of torture under both Saudi and international law”.

The panel’s report said the female activists arrested last spring had been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, including sleep deprivation, assault, threats to life and solitary confinement.

It said the treatment is likely to amount to torture and if they are not provided with urgent access to medical assistance they are at risk of developing long-term health conditions, adding that the culpability rests not only with direct perpetrators but also those who are responsible for or acquiesce to it.

“The Saudi authorities at the highest levels could, in principle, be responsible for the crime of torture.”

“Our conclusions are stark,” Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, the DRP chairman, said.

“The Saudi women activist detainees have been treated so badly as to sustain an international investigation for torture,” Blunt added.

He said: “Denied proper access to medical care, legal advice or visits from their families, their solitary confinement and mistreatment are severe enough to meet the international definition of torture.

“The supervisory chain of command up to the highest levels of Saudi authority would be responsible for this.”

“When I heard of the arrests, I was, like many people, shocked that it had happened at all,” Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP, on the panel said.

“The torture, in particular, allegations of sexual harassment and threats of rape, are inexcusable,” she added.


Khashoggi killing

Saudi Arabian administration has come under fresh scrutiny last week after its refusal to cooperate with the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last week said that an international investigation would "review and evaluate, from a human rights perspective, the circumstances surrounding the killing of [Jamal] Khashoggi."

The UN team completed a five-day fact-finding mission in Istanbul to investigate the death of Saudi journalist Khashoggi but failed to receive access from Saudi officials to their consulate building where Khashoggi was killed by a team of hit squad sent from Riyadh last fall.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that he cannot “understand America's silence when such a horrific attack took place, and even after members of the CIA listened to the recordings we provided."

Speaking to TRT, Erdogan said: "We want everything to be clarified because there is an atrocity, there is a murder," he added, calling the killing "not an ordinary one."

Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 last year.

After producing various contradictory explanations, Riyadh acknowledged he was killed inside the consulate building, blaming the act on a botched rendition operation.

Turkey has sought the extradition of the Saudi citizens involved in the killing as well as a fuller accounting of the killing from Riyadh.