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Amnesty International urges Saudi king to withdraw charges against senior Hamas official, his son

Senior imprisoned Hamas official Muhammad al-Khudari (File photo)

Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia's King Salman to order the withdrawal of charges leveled against a high-ranking official of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas and his son, saying they have been both subjected to grave violations of human rights.

The London-based human rights group said on Monday that 81-year-old Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari and his son, Hani, have endured various forms of mistreatment, including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention in solitary confinement.

خلال فترة الاعتقال تعرض الدكتور محمد الخضري وابنه هاني الخضري لانتهاكات جسيمة لحقوقهما الإنسانية، بما في ذلك الإخفاء القسري والاعتقال التعسفي والاحتجاز بمعزلٍ عن العالم الخارجي داخل الحبس الانفرادي. كما لم يحظ الرجلان بأي تمثيل قانوني منذ اعتقالهما.#السعودية

— منظمة العفو الدولية (@AmnestyAR) October 5, 2020

Amnesty highlighted that the two Palestinian nationals have not had any legal representation since their arrest more than a year ago.

“We call on King Salman to order the dropping of baseless charges against Dr. Mohammed Khudari and Hani, and their release,” the group demanded.

They were arbitrarily arrested on April 4, 2019 and remained in detention without charges until March 8 this year, when they were brought before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in the Saudi capital, Riyadh as part of a mass trial of 68 individuals on trumped-up charges under the so-called counter-terror law. 

الدكتور محمد الخضري (81 عاما) ونجله الدكتور هاني معتقلان منذ أكثر من عام في #السعودية ومن المقرر حضورهما في 5 اكتوبر أمام المحكمة الجزائية المتخصصة. ندعو @KingSalman على إسقاط التهم الموجهة للدكتور محمد وهاني والتي لا تستند إلى أي أساس، وعلى الفراج عنهما!

— Amnesty Gulf (@amnestygulf) October 4, 2020

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, Dr. Khudari had undergone surgery.

Dr. Khudari is currently being held in al-Hai’r Prison in Riyadh, while his son is detained in Dhahban Prison.

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

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

On March 22, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, in a letter addressed to the Saudi monarch pleaded with him to make a quick decision and order the freedom of Palestinian detainees in Saudi prisons.

“In light of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus that has spread across the globe, due to fears for the lives of our honorable brethren and given all humanitarian and religious considerations … the release of the Palestinians becomes a humanitarian and national necessity. We are all confident that His Majesty will not hesitate to do so,” the letter read.

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