Monday, February 04, 2019

Torture in Saudi Arabia

Three British MPs on Monday endorsed reports that women activists detained in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, and said responsibility for what is likely a violation of international law could lie with “Saudi authorities at the highest level”. Amnesty International said last month it had documented 10 cases of torture and abuse - including sexual harassment, electrocution, flogging and death threats - while the activists were held at an undisclosed location last summer. Reuters reported earlier that an aide to Prince Mohammed who was fired for his role in the Khashoggi murder personally oversaw the torture of at least one of the women months earlier. 

MPs Crispin Blunt, Layla Moran and Paul Williams said they found reports by international rights groups and news media to be credible, describing the detainees’ treatment as “cruel, inhuman and degrading”. The lawmakers, who formed a review panel with prominent lawyers, said the Saudi authorities had also violated international law by holding the detainees incommunicado and denying them access to legal advice. 

Culpability rests not only with direct perpetrators but also those who are responsible for or acquiesce to it, they added. 

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

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