RIYADH (Dispatches) – A human rights organization has sounded the alarm over the fate of political dissidents incarcerated in Saudi jails, amid the Riyadh regime’s aggressive crackdown on any whiff of dissent.
In its latest report, Sanad human rights organization, which monitors and exposes human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, said civil rights activists and distinguished scholars feel really insecure anytime they express their opinions and make critical comments.
The organization lamented that concerns about the fate of imprisoned activists in Saudi Arabia have increased in light of the House of Saud’s heavy-handed clampdown, arrest campaigns, persecution of dissidents, and pervasive distortion and misrepresentation of facts.
It said the situation of civil rights and personal freedoms in Saudi Arabia has deteriorated significantly since Mohammed bin Salman was named the kingdom’s crown prince in 2017, and arbitrary arrests and deliberate abuses are increasingly getting common.
Sanad, citing human rights sources requesting anonymity, reported that Saudi forces have illegally and arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned rights activist Ibrahim al-Dhaman, without providing any reasons.
The rights group also pointed to another Saudi activist, Abed bin Nasser al-Mashal, saying he had been sentenced to 17 years in prison by the country’s judiciary on trumped-up charges.
Sanad finally called upon relevant state institutions in Saudi Arabia to respect the rights of citizens, observe freedom of speech, prevent arbitrary arrests, and release prisoners of conscience.
Saudi authorities have detained dozens of officials in a new alleged anti-corruption case amid reports that bin Salman is seeking to get rid of potential rivals to the throne.
The English-language daily newspaper Saudi Gazette, citing the country’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha), reported that 142 individuals were jailed on charges of bribery, abuse of influence, money laundering and forgery.
The report added that the defendants were employed in the ministries of defense, interior, health, justice, education, municipal and rural affairs as well as housing. There were also officials and employees from Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority in addition to Nazaha.
The Saudi Gazette added that the arrests were made after Nazaha authorities carried out 2,364 inspections.