Under the Veil of "Counter Terrorism"July 23, 2009
Amnesty International has just released a report detailing the consistent human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia under the facade of combatting terrorism. Thousands of people have been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy, while others have been killed in uncertain circumstances. Hundreds more people face secret and summary trials and possible execution. Many are reported to have been tortured in order to extract confessions or as punishment after conviction.
Reported methods of torture and other ill-treatment include severe beatings with sticks, punching, and suspension from the ceiling, use of electric shocks and sleep deprivation. Flogging is also imposed as a legal punishment by itself or in addition to imprisonment, and sentences can include thousands of lashes.
Since the attacks of September 11th, Saudi Arabia has been under intense pressure by the West to take on terrorism as 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Abdulrahman Alhadlaq, a Saudi Interior Ministry official, told The Associated Press that Amnesty International’s assertions were “claims that have to be proven.”
Samah Choudhury contributed to this post