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Top Hamas official taken back to Saudi prison after hospitalization: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Imprisoned high-ranking Hamas official Muhammad al-Khudari (Photo via Twitter)

Saudi authorities have reportedly transferred a high-ranking official of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas to prison, weeks after he was taken to hospital because of health complications.

The Prisoners of Conscience, an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page on Thursday that Muhammad al-Khudari, who has been in detention in the ultra-conservative kingdom for more than five months, was back in Dhahban Central Prison in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah earlier this week after hospitalization in Mecca to receive treatment for an unspecified terminal disease.

On September 14, Hamas called on Saudi authorities to immediately release Khudari, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years, and represented Hamas between mid-1990s and 2003 in Saudi Arabia. 

He has held other important positions in the Palestinian resistance movement as well.

Osama Hamdan, the head of Hamas’ international relations committee, said that those who work for Palestine should be honored and not put in jail.

“Over the past 30 years, the Hamas movement has gone through a lot of pain and abuse … We kept silent not out of weakness and inability, although we could have raised our voice every time. We are keen on retaining the nation’s compass towards the liberation of Palestine, and protect it against any sedition that will serve no one but our enemy,” he added.

“This is why we were silent about the arrest of Dr. Khudari and others. The Hamas leadership had made efforts to solve this issue peacefully, but we have reached a point where we cannot remain silent,” Hamdan pointed out.

Back on June 3, Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Akhbar, citing informed sources who requested anonymity, reported that Saudi officials had been holding dozens of Saudi nationals and Palestinian expatriates in detention for months over affiliation to Hamas.

The report added that the most prominent figure among those arrested was Dr. Khudari. 

Al-Akhbar went on to say that the campaign of arrests coincided with the closure and tight control of bank accounts, and a ban on sending any money from Saudi Arabia to the Gaza Strip.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting Hamas financially, politically or through social networking sites.

The Riyadh regime has imposed strict control over Palestinian funds in Saudi Arabia since the end of 2017.

All remittances of Palestinian expatriates are being tightly controlled, under the pretext that these funds could be diverted indirectly and through other countries to Hamas. 

Money transfer offices are asking the Palestinians to bring forward strong arguments for conversion, and do not allow the ceiling of one’s money transfer to exceed $3,000.

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