Human Rights in Saudi Arabia only serve to cover up regime’s abuses: Report

 Alwaght- While Eighteen years have passed since the Saudi government acceded to the UN-CAT, the systemic practice of torture by the Al Saud regime has raised, official website of Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, birdbh.org, reported.

Despite binding itself to those international statutes that mandate that Convention parties to “take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction,” Saudi officials have vacillated between ignoring and abetting acts of torture and otherwise degrading punishment.

Bird has cited Eric Eikenberry, the Advocacy Associate at Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, as saying “Cruel and degrading treatment in Saudi Arabia is legal, and disproportionately affects women, children, and even migrant labor, who are often punished for practicing sorcery.” Highlighting a single case of abuse in which authorities “poured antiseptic fluid” down a victim’s throat”, Mr. Ericenberry told “Yet complaints of torture get swept under the rug”.

 Eikenberry believes that human rights mechanisms in Saudi Arabia only serve to cover up the regime’s abuses. “The Saudi government has altogether failed to respect the treaty to which it acceded,” he told, adding “Due to lack of significant international pressure, the Saudi government will continue to ignore human rights abuses going on behind closed doors.”

Dr. Zena al-Sinea, a researcher at the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, also explained how the Saudi regime commits human rights violations under the pretext of fighting terrorism. “Saudi Arabia equates terrorism with non-violent activism; the laws are vague, and provide a platform for torture, as massive sectors of civil society are targeted for abuse.” She also explained how torture is especially employed in the eastern region, where protests shook the country in 2011. “What we saw was lots of violence at the point of protest… after arresting human rights defenders, Saudi Arabia uses torture to extract a forced confession, which it uses to obtain a death sentence.” Saying that Al Saud often uses these practices against children, Dr. al-Sinea put forth Ali al-Nimr’s case as an example, whom the regime tortured in order to extract a forced confession.

Ali was tried in a terrorist court at age 17… he had no access to his lawyer, and he was convicted and sentenced to death. Saying that Ali’s execution is imminent,  al-Sinea warned that Ali al-Nimr represents what is quickly becoming a norm in Saudi Arabia, as the government increasingly uses torture against children in the country.

Bird also quoted Yahya Asiri as saying that people refuse to speak up against the government because out of fear for their lives. “One human rights defender was beaten with copper wire until he could see his own flesh on the floor. He was hung from the ceiling… he was stripped of his clothes and officers put out their cigarettes on his skin… When he complained to the Ministry of Interior, he was told that [current Minister of Interior] Prince Mohammed bin Naif had personally ordered” his torture.”

Touching on the buse of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, Sevag Kerchichian, a researcher on Saudi Arabia from Amnesty International, said “Almost all of the cases that we documented were sentenced to death after grossly unfair trials”, adding “Confessions extracted from torture are systematically used by the government… and are often the only evidence.”

Mr. Kerchichian went on saying that this problem especially affects migrants. “Poor domestic workers who don’t speak in Arabic are not granted their rights.” He explained that the law often facilitates torture, adding that “incommunicado detention is allowed by law,” and that torture is often employed during periods of enforced disappearance. “Those that carry out torture do so with impunity,” said Kerchichian. “Security forces have been accused of gross acts of torture, and they get away with it… judges cannot do anything that would negatively affect the Ministry of Interior.” “Torture is absolutely one of the most serious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Kerchichian concluded.

Finally Bird cited Ali al-Dubisy, ex-prisoner it Saudi prisons, as saying “In 2011, from the first moment of my arrest, I was subjected to degrading treatment.” After being handcuffed “they put me in a dark cell in solitary confinement for seven days.” Al-Dubisy said adding security forces eventually took him to a building belonging to Saudi intelligence service, where he “was exposed to many types of violence and torture.” “Beating with hands, slapping, kicking legs, beating with hoses, standing for hours blindfolded… being deprived of medical treatment, and being kept in hot cell,” were all practices that the Saudi security forces done against us, al-Dubisy recounted. “This is the type of torture in Saudi Arabia.”

By Al Waght