U.N. watchdog presses Saudi Arabia on alleged torture of activists


The United Nations logo is displayed on a door at U.N. headquarters in New ...
The United Nations logo is displayed on a door at U.N. headquarters in New York February 26, 2011.

In Summary

  • The panel sought information on whether an impartial investigation is underway into allegations that “high-level officials were involved in the torture and extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi”.
  • The committee cited  cited “serious allegations” that activists have been detained without charge in Dhahban prison near Jeddah since May 2018.

A U.N. human rights watchdog has urged Saudi authorities to free over a dozen rights activists detained in the kingdom, alleging that some had been tortured or mistreated during interrogation.

The panel of 10 independent experts also sought information on whether an impartial investigation is underway into allegations that “high-level officials were involved in the torture and extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi”.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and critic of the nation’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Riyadh has denied that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing.

The U.N. Committee against Torture, in a letter dated Tuesday and posted online, cited “serious allegations” that activists including Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, prominent women’s rights campaigner Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada, Mohammad al-Rabe’a and Ibrahim Modeimigh have been detained without charge in Dhahban prison near Jeddah since May 2018.

It said they had suffered “torture, sexual harassment and other forms of ill-treatment during interrogation”.

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