ISTANBUL – Several women's rights activists who have been detained in Saudi Arabia for more than six months have been…
ISTANBUL – Several women’s rights activists who have been detained in Saudi Arabia for more than six months have been subjected to psychological or physical abuse in custody, including sleep deprivation and abuse, according to four people familiar with the conditions of the detention of the activists.
Some of the abuse occurred during interrogation, where several of the women got electric shock or flogged, two of the people said and quoted a witness account. Other women showed what witnesses said were clear signs of addiction, including uncontrolled shaking or difficulty standing, said the people.
The allegations of abuse and torture were impossible to independently confirm. Families are reluctant to repeat what they hear from the prisoners during prison visits, and save retaliation by the authorities. The four people who spoke of the abuse, all Saudi nationals, have contacts in prison or have been informed about the conditions there. They spoke on terms of anonymity out of concern to reveal their names could identify the prisoners.
Requested commentary, said a Saudi official, who also commented on the condition of anonymity, in an e-mail statement: “The Saudi Arabian judicial system does not condemn, promote or allow the use of torture. Anyone, whether male or female, is being investigated , goes through the standardized judicial process led by the prosecutor while being held to the question, which is in no way dependent on torture, either physical, sexual or psychological. “
Amnesty International released a report on Tuesday and also said that several of Saudi activists have been detained since May have been reportedly affected by sexual harassment, torture and other forms of abuse when they were questioned. The report was released after Washington Post’s independent interviews with the four people who were acquainted with detention conditions.
The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian agents in Istanbul, Istanbul, has increased the human rights review in Saudi Arabia and rumors the Saudi government’s intention to release some of the female activists to shed some criticism from the Kingdom.
However, seven weeks after the killing of Khashoggi, which contributed with opinions to the post, none of the activists have been released, and it has not been found that prosecutors have taken new steps to accuse them.
Saudi authorities began to detain the country’s most prominent feminists in mid-May, after several waves of previous arrests had been directed against other high profiles, including clergy, royal family members, business leaders and independent political activists. Some of the women had been working for decades to lift a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.
The arrests, including men who had worked with female activists, became internationally upset, partly because they occurred a few weeks before the Saudi government officially lifted the driving ban ̵
1; and celebrated the suspension as an important advancement for women’s rights in the empire.
Saudi authorities, usually holding the name of criminal suspects, also mounted a very unusual campaign for publishing the women’s identities after imprisonment for allegations of illegal contacts with foreign countries.
None of the activists have been charged or granted access to lawyers, said the people were familiar with the matter.
According to the people who were acquainted with the detention, some of the female activists were detained for several months in a building believed to be a hotel where some of the worst abuses occurred in the hands of male hearers. Many were then transferred to the Dhahban prison in the coastal town of Jiddah. In both establishments, prisoners were held alone for long periods of time.
In addition to failures and electric shocks, at least one prisoner was hanged from the ceiling during an interrogation. Another prisoner was told falsely that a relative had been killed. A third inmate has tried suicide several times, they said people familiar with the question.
A former resident of Dhahban who said she was released about three months ago said she had witnessed hearers who smashed inmates at the facility, with telephone cables and other tools. She did not have any specific information about the treatment of women’s rights activists, she said.
The Amnesty Report said that one of the female detainees was reported to be subjected to sexual harassment by hearing impaired people. According to testimonies cited by Amnesty, activists repeatedly suffered electric shocks or fled. Some of the activists could not walk or stand properly.
“Just a few weeks after Jamal Khashoggi’s ruthless death reveals these shocking reports of torture, sexual harassment and other forms of abuse, if they are verified criminal violations of human rights by the Saudi authorities,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International According to Amnesty, at least a dozen women and men in connection with the Saudi feminist movement have been detained since May. Several known for their activism had previously been arrested, including Samar Badawi, Aziza al- Yousef and Loujain al-Hathloul. The activists had struggled to stop the driving ban and to repeal regulations requiring women to seek a male guardian’s permit to travel or to work.
Saudi officials denied that the arrests were due to the woman’s activism and accused them of to try to forward information ti Alien countries hostile to Saudi Arabia.
When freedom began in May, women’s pictures in prostate media were given headlines that labeled them as “traitors.”