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Senior Hamas official’s daughter urges Saudi monarch for his release

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 Mohammed al-Khudari (Photo by Palestinian Shehab news agency)

The daughter of a high-ranking official of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has urged Saudi Arabia's King Salman to order immediate release of her father and brother amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and as the holy fasting month of Ramadan is drawing near.

Mai al-Khudari, in press remarks to the Palestinian Information Center, called on the Saudi monarch and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to swiftly free the 81-year-old Mohammed al-Khudari and his son, Hani, and send them back to Palestine.

“My father and brother are innocent, and we call on Saudi Arabia to take quick steps to pardon them and other Palestinians who were arrested with no guilt,” she said.

She also expressed her family’s great concern over the health condition and the lives of her father and brother, especially in light of the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus.

Last month, Amnesty International said Khudari and his son were brought before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in the capital Riyadh as part of a mass trial of 68 individuals on trumped-up charges under the so-called counter-terror law. 

They were arbitrarily arrested on April 4, 2019 and remained in detention without charges until March 8 this year. Both men were forcibly disappeared for one month after their arrest, and held incommunicado and in solitary confinement for the next two months of their detention.

A month into the senior Hamas official’s detention, his wife received a phone call from authorities in the maximum security Dhahban Prison near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah requesting his medical records. Two weeks prior to his arrest, Khudari had undergone surgery.

Khudari is currently being held in al-Hai’r Prison in Riyadh, while his son is detained in Dhahban Prison. Their next court session is scheduled for May 5. 

Khudari has been living in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years, and represented Hamas between mid-1990s and 2003 in the kingdom. 

His son is also a university professor and has no political affiliation.

Both men have had no legal representation since their arrest.

Haniyeh: We will never abandon our prisoners in Israeli and Arab jails

The new development came after on Wednesday, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, emphasized that his movement will never forsake Palestinian detainees currently behind bars in Israeli jails as well as detention centers in some Arab countries.

During separate telephone conversations with the head of the Arab International Forum for Justice for Palestine, Maen Bashour, and General Coordinator of the National Islamic Conference Khaled al-Sufyani, Haniyeh briefed the two officials on the latest developments concerning the Palestinian cause, and the main threats the nation faces as a result of the Israeli regime’s occupation in addition to its Judaization and settlement expansion plots in occupied Jerusalem al-Ouds and elsewhere in the Palestinian territories.

The senior Hamas official then pointed to the situation of Palestinians at home and abroad amid the COVID-19 crisis, and the issue of Palestinian inmates being held in Israeli and Saudi jails.

Haniyeh emphasized that Hamas will never abandon the detainees, urging organizations in the Arab world to perform their duties towards Palestinian prisoners.

Bashour and Sufyani, for their parts, hailed the role that Hamas plays as regards resistance against the Israeli regime, and protection of the Palestinian cause against all fiendish plots.

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