RIYADH (Dispatches) – Saudi Arabia’s long prison terms handed down to dozens of Palestinians jailed in the kingdom’s prisons have received angry reactions.
A Saudi court issued verdicts on Sunday against 69 Palestinians with sentences ranging from 3-22 years without allowing relatives of detainees to attend the trial.
The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement and the Islamic Jihad have vehemently condemned the rulings, noting that the verdicts were part of Riyadh’s efforts to curry favor with the Zionist regime.
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a leader of Hamas, told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen news agency on Sunday that trial of Palestinian inmates was illegal, because they had committed no crime against the Saudi government.
“The verdicts against Palestinian detainees have been issued at the request of the Zionist regime,” the senior Hamas leader said.
Al-Zahar stressed that the verdicts issued by the Saudi court are of a political, not judicial nature because Mohammed al-Khudari, one of the Palestinian prisoners in Saudi Arabia, is Hamas’ official representative in the kingdom, who has committed no crime.
The Islamic Jihad resistance movement also condemned Saudi court’s rulings, noting that the detainees were put in jail because of their support for the resistance of the Palestinian nation.
The movement added that the Saudi court’s verdicts are not justifiable, and are against Islamic Sharia and Arab values, which call for defense of the oppressed Palestinian nation.
Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement also condemned Saudi Arabia, saying the verdicts clearly reflect the Riyadh regime’s desire to normalize relations with the Zionist regime.
“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.
The group of Palestinians 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.
“Saudi Arabia’s long record of unfair trails [sic] raises the specter that Jordanians and Palestinians will be railroaded on serious charges and face severe penalties even though some have alleged serious abuses,” Michael Page, HRW’s deputy Middle East director, said in a statement last year.
Sources in the besieged Gaza Strip have previously said that they believed the crackdown was linked to warming ties between the Zionist regime and Riyadh.