Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement has condemned Saudi Arabia for handing down harsh verdicts against dozens of Palestinian inmates in the kingdom, some of whom were given jail terms of up to 22 years, over alleged support for the Palestinian Hamas movement, saying the verdicts clearly reflect the Riyadh regime’s desire to normalize relations with Israel.
“We strongly condemn Saudi rulings against Palestinians living in the country. We consider such verdicts a poisonous stab in the back of the Palestinian cause, and a message of friendship and obedience to Israel,” Ansarullah's political bureau said in a statement.
It added, “Given our knowledge about the Saudi regime’s nature and its eagerness to normalize ties with the Zionist enemy, we call upon Muslim nations to show solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, and to press for their immediate release.”
“Sana’a is ready to release Saudi prisoners in exchange for the freedom of Palestinians being kept behind bars in the Riyadh regime’s detention,” Ansarullah said.
A Saudi court on Sunday issued various sentences against 69 Palestinians and Jordanians.
The group was detained in March 2018 during a wave of arrests by Saudi authorities on a group of long-term Palestinian and Jordanian residents in the kingdom on alleged links to Hamas.
Sources in the besieged Gaza Strip have previously said that they believed the crackdown was linked to warming ties between Israel and Riyadh.
An official Hamas source said last year that the majority of the detainees were Hamas members, who had resided in the Persian Gulf country for decades, accusing Saudi Arabia of “targeting everyone who is linked with resistance” against the Israeli occupation.
Several Palestinians have been detained since February 2019 and are facing trial before a Saudi terrorism court.
The Saudi court sentenced Hamas representative in Saudi Arabia Mohammed al-Khudairi to 15 years in prison. His son, Hani, was sentenced to three years, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported.
Khudairi’s brother, Abd al-Majeed, said the sentence includes “clemency for half the term.”
Khudairi, 82, was a veteran Hamas leader responsible for managing the relationship with Saudi Arabia for two decades.
Hamas, meanwhile, condemned the sentences handed out on Sunday, calling them “unjust” and saying those sentenced had done nothing to harm Saudi Arabia.
“We were shocked … by the rulings issued by the Saudi judiciary against a large number of Palestinians and Jordanians residing in the kingdom,” Hamas said in a statement.
“We deplore the harsh and undeserved sentences against most of them. All they did was support their cause and their people, to which they belong, without any offence to the kingdom and its people,” it added.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also condemned the rulings.
Over the past three years, the Saudi authorities have also 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.