Saudi Prisons and Courts: Is There Anything More Unjust?

Saudi Prisons and Courts: Is There Anything More Unjust?

By Latifa al-Husseini

Beirut – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is continuing his clampdown on every voice of dissent. It makes no difference whether power lies in his hands or those of his father, King Salman. He changed, deposed and imprisoned whoever he wanted. Things are done according to his will. He kills, buys or sells. He exercises control over whatever he wants. There is no obstacle blocking his way. Bin Salman’s policy of tyranny is evident across all of the kingdom’s internal matters. His behavior does not recognize the rights, opinions and demands of others. And for that reason, he believed there is simply no need for anyone to speak up. Therefore, the best solution is to silence and liquidate them.

Arrests and executions on the rise

When it comes to basic freedoms in the Kingdom, the situation is only getting more complicated. Activists have long complained of harassment and persecution. But the reign of Salman bin Abdul Aziz, which began four years ago, witnessed a sharp rise in the percentage of executions and unfair trials of prisoners of conscience, religious clerics and those taking part in peaceful movements. This is contrary to Bin Salman’s claims of reform that he made after the overthrow of former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in 2017.

This year alone, there have been 164 executions so far, and arbitrary arrests have exceeded dozens. The scale of these executions suggests that there is no decline in unfair liquidations. In 2016, the Kingdom executed 153 citizens who were denied fair trials. In 2017, more than 100 detainees were executed, and hundreds of clerics, academics and writers were jailed. In 2018, authorities arrested and tortured dozens of female and other human rights activists.

Organized crimes are committed on the orders of the higher-ups. In 2015, these officials opened the doors of employment for those wishing to join its team of executioners. The security services report directly to the crown prince’s office. At the forefront of the security services is the State Security, which has been charged with arrest campaigns against political, social, and human rights activists from different currents in addition to the princes belonging to the ruling family who may pose a potential threat to Bin Salman. Also, in the crosshairs are tribal elders and businessmen who have had their significant wealth confiscated by the authorities.

In the absence of international accountability, Bin Salman’s apparatuses are moving towards more repression and tyranny. Information from within the Kingdom reflects a dark atmosphere. There are no resolutions, but rather a deepening crisis.

A prominent Saudi lawyer, Taha al-Hajji, spoke to Al-Ahed News Website about the very poor human rights situation, which appears to lack even the slightest glimmer of hope. Al-Hajji says that the Saudi judiciary usually does not announce its intention to execute prisoners. Instead it accumulates the number of prisoners it plans to put to death and then carries out mass executions. These often coincide with political developments in the region, especially those concerning Iran.

Indications that new executions are imminent & those most at risk

In light of recent reports that the authorities are preparing to execute a number of detainees, al-Hajji points to heightened activity on the part of the judiciary in the past weeks. It is speeding up trials and rushing hearings. Whereas before they were only held every two months. This indicates that authorities are striving to achieve a goal, especially since the Saudi judiciary has never held back-to-back hearings in this manner.

Al-Hajji’s remarks back reports circulating about sessions held by the specialized criminal court in the past two weeks for a number of preachers, most notably Salman Al-Odah and Safar Al-Hawali. Al-Hajji’s hypothesis is that the Saudi regime is preparing for a new batch of mass executions. He points to a long list of political prisoners and explains that their conditions vary judicially. Some are appearing before the appeals court and others before the Supreme Court. There are some detainees whose cases are still new, and no judgment has been issued. However, the prosecution is requesting the death penalty (it submits its application to the court and the court then decides).

According to al-Hajji’s data, the number of death sentences in Saudi Arabia is much higher than published. He warns that the detainees most at risk of execution are Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Daoud al-Marhoun, who face old sentences that came into force but were stopped due to international pressure.

Mock trials and violations of prisoners’ rights

Those who keep up with the human rights situation in the Kingdom would notice that the detainees who appear in court are not granted fair trials, and that the judiciary does not listen to them or their representatives. Due to his experience with the Al-Saud courts for many years, Al-Hajji asserts that it is difficult to figure out who is being sentenced to death. The authorities make these rulings public through state-run media, which announces that death sentences were handed down, but they do not name the defendants.

However, their common denominator is that they were all accused of crimes stemming from participation in the political movement.

Al-Hajji, who left the kingdom after getting fed-up of the Saudi judiciary’s persecution of prisoners, explains that some judgments are issued before the indictment is made, especially when it comes to detainees who participated in demonstrations and what the authorities consider inciting public opinion against the regime.

“The trials of political detainees take place in the specialized criminal court, which is dedicated to terrorism and state security cases. This gives a clear picture of how the regime treats the peaceful demonstrator,” he adds.

According to al-Hajji, the features of the mock trials resemble those of real ones: an accused, a lawyer, a prosecution and a hearing. Up to this point, everything appears normal. But the reality is different. What takes place in the courtroom is nothing but a skit in which the case is over before it even begins. Moreover, sentences are often accompanied by confessions referred to as legal confessions that are extracted under torture.

The file is submitted to the judge only after the detainee has been forced to sign the confessions the authorities want. The judge only has to ask, “Is this your signature?” Then, the case is closed. The presumed “defendant” does not know what he signed and is later returned to solitary confinement and abused.

Al-Hajji points out that he always challenged the confessions on which the court bases its ruling, in an attempt to prove that they were extracted under duress and torture in order to underscore its invalidity. But the court does not take the challenge seriously.

He evokes his bitter experience with the judiciary saying, “I always demanded video footage during the interrogation and medical reports proving that the detainee had been tortured, but the court does not oblige the prosecution on this matter and completely ignores it.”

Violations of the rights of the detainees are never ending. The court does not allow a prisoner to appoint a lawyer until after the case begins in court. Accordingly, he is forbidden to communicate with his family during the investigation period. To make matters worse, it may take more than a year after being arrested to bring the accused to court. Sometimes the case is brought to the court of terrorism and then referred the same day to the criminal court, al-Hajji stresses.

Since the kingdom’s judiciary lacks integrity and credibility, Al-Hajji decided years ago to boycott the Saudi courts, after it became clear that the lawyer is only an ‘extra on set’, serving the authority and whitewashing its performance before the Western media. And the detainee never benefits from him.

The pain of those forgotten in prisons

Al-Hajji describes prison conditions as tragic. According to his previous observations and what is happening today, it is another world in detention, one not even seen in the movies. It is a strange wild world. And yet the authority carries out a huge media campaign to polish its image and the image of its prisons. The latest of which was shown on National Day when a large number of celebrities entered the prisons to praise the services there.

“The buildings are modern and well-equipped, but what about the torture chambers and solitary cells? These are violations in the dozens,” Al-Hajji says. “Mrs. Nassima Al-Sadah has been in solitary confinement for more than a year now. While it has been leaked that Loujain Al-Hathloul has been subjected to horrific forms of torture and harassment. There are some detainees who were imprisoned and were only set free after being murdered.”

Al-Hajji asserts that all those who enter prison are subjected to particularly harsh treatment during the first interrogation period. He points out that Shia political detainees are banned from practicing their religious rites and so are some books.

Al-Hajji draws a clear distinction in the way terrorist prisoners from Al-Qaeda and ISIS are treated. They are subjected to counseling programs, imprisoned for a few months, then released and given in-kind and material gifts in spite of their heinous crimes.

“This program does not include Shia detainees or prisoners of conscience. The authorities tried to say that they do it with them. However, the truth shows that it is carried out only at the end of the term that prisoners of conscience are serving, that is, before the prisoner is finally released. This means that none of the Shia detainees had been released before completing the sentence. They are not subjected to the counseling program at all. And this applies to the Sunni prisoners of conscience,” he adds.

The tragic situation of the detainees under Mohammed bin Salman’s reign worsened despite claims of reform. This grim picture prompts al-Hajji to predict new atrocities on the part of the authorities, especially since activists abroad are being chased and their families inside the Kingdom are being put under great pressure, where no dissident or opposition figure is free.

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Saudi Executions to be Continued: 39 Shia Detainees on Death Row

Saudi Executions to be Continued: 39 Shia Detainees on Death Row

By Staff

In the course of the Saudi regime’s continued crackdown against the Kingdom’s eastern province Shia population, activists warned that 39 detainees from Qatif are facing execution.

Detainees who come from the Shia-populated Qatif include 5 who are facing a final execution sentence and 8 are facing a preliminary sentence.

In further details, human rights activists urged urgent action is imperative to stop the government’s brutality following unfair mass trials, during which the detainees were tortured.

Earlier in April, the Saudi regime blatantly executed 37 Saudi youth for being opponents amid sickening international silence.

Giving empty pretexts and neglecting any talk of human rights, the Saudi interior ministry announced Tuesday the execution of 37 Saudi men.

“The death penalty was implemented… on a number of culprits for adopting extremist “terrorist” ideologies and forming “terrorist” cells to corrupt and disrupt security as well as spread chaos and provoke sectarian strife,” the state news agency said in a tweet.

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العميل الفاخوري و«أمريكانه»: إلى استجواب جديد

الأخبار

الأربعاء 18 أيلول 2019

العميل الفاخوري و«أمريكانه»: إلى استجواب جديد

(هيثم الموسوي)

مشهد تلك السيّدة الرافعة بيدها حبل المشنقة، أمام المحكمة العسكرية أمس، كان يلخص مطلب الذين اعتصموا هناك بالتزامن مع جلسة استجواب العميل عامر الفاخوري. هو اعتصام باسم الأسرى المحررين من السجون والمعتقلات الإسرائيلية. منهم مَن كان ينفرد بصحافي ليخبره عن تجربته مع التعذيب في المعتقل، ومنهم من كان يتكلم أمام الجميع، أمام وسائل النقل المباشر، فيما هناك من تعمّد رفع صوته بقوة ليصل إلى داخل أروقة المحكمة. يُريدون لصوتهم أن يصل.

ارتفع الصوت أكثر عندما عرفوا بمجيء وفد أميركي، يضمّ محامية أميركية، بغية الترافع عن العميل. قاضية التحقيق نجاة أبو شقرا لم تسمح بذلك. لا بدّ مِن موافقة نقابة المحامين في لبنان أولاً. مجرّد فكرة أن يأتي أحدهم إلى المحكمة، بنيّة الدفاع عن العميل، أمر استفزّ المعتصمين، فكيف إذا كان أميركيّاً؟ كل من احتشد أمام المحكمة كان متشائماً، إذ سرت شائعة عن نية بعدم توقيف العميل، خاصّة في ظلّ ما صرّح به وكيل الأسرى المحررين المحامي معن الأسعد من هناك:

«الإخبارات لم تصل من قبل النيابة العامة التمييزية إلى قاضية التحقيق، لكن أرى أن الطوق ضاق على رقبة العميل… التحقيق سيستمر وسيكون هناك جلسات أخرى».

وبعد نحو ساعتين، قررت القاضية إصدار مذكرة توقيف بحق الفاخوري، عارضة ما طلبه على النيابة العامة العسكرية لإبداء الرأي، على أن يحدَّد موعد جديد لاستجوابه. كان طلب العميل محدداً: حضور المحامية الأميركية. لا يصدر عنه أي شيء آخر. انتهى الاعتصام على خير، تنفس الحاضرون الصعداء، على أن يتابع الحراك بحسب موعد الاستجواب الذي سيُحدد لاحقاً.

إلى ذلك، صرّح رئيس كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة النائب محمد رعد، أمس، قائلاً:

«إن الخيانة ليست وجهة نظر كما يرى البعض، ونحن نملك من القانون والأحكام والإجراءات ما يمكننا من التصدي لهؤلاء».

بدوره، صرّح النائب الجديد في الكتلة نفسها، حسن عز الدين، معرباً عن أسفه «لوجود من يريد أن يشرّع أمن البلد الوطني للمخاطر مجدداً». من جهته، نوّه المؤتمر الشعبي اللبناني بتوقيف الفاخوري، مطالباً بـ

«كشف كل المتدخلين والمتورطين بتسهيل عودة العملاء الفارين ومعاقبتهم كشركاء لهؤلاء في خياناتهم الوطنية».

Image result for ‫عضو تكتل «لبنان القوي»، زياد أسود‬‎

زياد أسود: توقيف الفاخوري سياسيّ لأن «سجلّه نظيف» بمرور الزمن

وخارج «الاجماع» السياسي على ضرورة أن ينال الفاخوري جزاءه، غرّد عضو تكتل «لبنان القوي»، زياد أسود، قائلاً إن توقيف الفاخوري سياسيّ، لأن «سجلّه نظيف» بمرور الزمن.

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Hezbollah MP: Fakhoury’s Crimes Mothers of All Crimes

September 14, 2019

Ibrahim_mousawi

Hezbollah MP Ibrahim Mousawi on Saturday condemned the ease with which the former commander of al-Khiyam’s Israeli prison was able to enter Lebanon without arrest.

Amer al-Fakhoury, a member of the Israeli proxy militia in Lebanon, who oversaw the Khiam prison in south Lebanon that detained and tortured thousands of Lebanese, arrived at Rafik Hariri International Airport last week.

He was able to leave the airport without arrest, despite having been sentenced to 15 years in jail and having several arrest warrants against him.

“The crimes of high treason do not become obsolete over time,” Mousawi tweeted Saturday. “And Fakhoury’s crimes are the mothers of all crimes: collaboration with ‘Israel’, murder, torture, kidnap and rape,” he added. The Hezbollah MP called for the court to ensure Fakhoury was brought to justice “to protect Lebanon, preserve the blood of the martyrs and … even national dignity.”

Fakhoury was referred to the Military Tribunal Friday, having been arrested a day earlier. A statement released by General Security Friday morning said he had, during interrogations, confessed to working with the Zionist entity.

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Government Bestows an Honor to the Butcher of Al Khiyam: Al-Akhbar الدولة تكرّم جزّار الخيام

Fakhoury2

Al-Akhbar Newspaper

September 14, 2019

Few days ago, Amer Elias Al Fakhoury, the former military commander of Al Khiyam detention center, arrived in Beirut through its airport.
Al Fakhoury was responsible for a battalion of Antoine Lahad militia agents who guarded Al Khiyam detention center, suppressed the detainees and tortured them brutally.

Al Fakhoury, 56, is from southern Lebanon. He claimed that after a dispute with his bosses, he left Lebanon to the United States in 1998 through Palestine. He was known for his abduction, incarceration and torturing at the Center. Al Fakhoury was the head of the Center with the Chief of Security and Investigation Jean Al Homsi (Abo Nabil) who were directly supervised by the Israeli Intelligence.

Last week, the General Security Commander, checking Beirut arrivals’ passports at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, observed that the American passport holder Amer Elias Al Fakhoury has been wanted for arrest. However, audits showed that the detention order was withdrawn. In a default judgment, Al Fakhoury was sentenced to 15 years in jail with hard labor, in addition to the arrest warrants in abduction and rape crimes and non-judicial arrest warrants issued by the Lebanese Army (in the cable no. 303). All the aforementioned provisions were withdrawn, which means that the General Security is unable to arrest Al Fakhoury since there’s no judicial decision. What should be done? The General Security chief has the power of anyone’s papers. Al Fakhoury was allowed to enter the country after keeping his passport.

Who mended Al Fakhoury’s status whom Al Khiyam detention center freed detainees say he’s responsible for all the torture they were subjected to at the center, not to mention their arrest. Who is the secret authority who allowed the withdrawal of all the arrest warrants issued against him? “Al Akhbar” newspaper was told yesterday that due to the passage of 20 years on issuing them, the verdicts against him had been dropped.

Well, what about the arrest warrants the Army issues? Who ordered annulling them? The answer may carry a scandal. Yesterday, Al Fakhoury was escorted with a Brigadier wearing his military uniform to the General Security office in Beirut!

Did the Brigadier volunteer by himself to help Al Fakhoury without the knowledge of his commanders? Why is they dealing with leniency with such security, humanitarian and legal dangerous issue? Despite of the inability to be issued by judicial decision, the cable number 303 forms an “above-legal” protection of national security in the issues of dealing with the Israeli enemy. So, why is the wavering when dealing with this case particularly?
Many questions are raised with no specific answers. An enough evidence that indicates the significance of Al Fakhoury is that when asking about the facts of his return to Beirut, a security official wanted to know his place to detain him, then discovered that the former agent returned legally by a ‘superior’ decision.

The law in Lebanon doesn’t allow the detention of Al Fakhoury 20 years after his sentence was issued. But, why couldn’t he been prevented from returning to the country he betrayed? Why wasn’t he expelled? This should be the least thing to be done in honor of his victims instead of the ‘honor’ he bestowed.

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper (Translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website Staff)

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Bahrain FM Woos Zionist Entity: “‘Israel’ There to Stay”

Bahrain FM Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

Bahrain’s foreign minister has given an interview to an Israeli television channel, in which he called for open communication with the Zionist entity, the latest form of normalization between the Gulf state and the Israeli regime.

Bahrain sees the US-led economic workshop taking place in Manama as a possible “gamechanger” tantamount in its scope to the 1978 Camp David agreement between Tel Aviv and Cairo, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said Wednesday.

“We see it as very, very important,” Khalifa told The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the so-called “Peace to Prosperity” workshop, which is considered as the economic phase of US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”.

The Bahraini minister also stressed that his country recognizes the Zionist entity’s “right to exist”, saying that it is “there to stay,” and wants peace with it.

“Israel is a country in the region… and it’s there to stay, of course,” he said.

“Who did we offer peace to [with] the [Arab] Peace Initiative? We offered it to a state named the State of Israel, in the region. We did not offer it to some faraway island or some faraway country,” Khalifa continued, referring to a Saudi-backed peace framework.

“We offered it to Israel. So we do believe that Israel is a country to stay, and we want better relations with it, and we want peace with it.”

“Come and talk to us. Talk to us about it. Say, guys, you have a good initiative, but we have one thing that worries us,” he said.

He said the US-organized conference in Manama could be like Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s visit to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1977, which helped pave the way to the Camp David Accords and the normalizing of relations between Egypt and the Zionist entity.

“As much as Camp David 1 was a major gamechanger, after the visit of President Sadat — if this succeeds, and we build on it, and it attracts attention and momentum, this would be the second gamechanger,” Khalifa said.

Source: Israeli media

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Farage vs. Corbyn – Richie Allen and Gilad Atzmon delve into the post-political condition

May 24, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

Richie is joined by the musician, author and political commentator Gilad Atzmon. In a provocative and insightful article on gilad.co.uk this week, Gilad writes; “How it is that once again a right wing populist has won the minds and hearts of working people? How is it possible that Jeremy Corbyn, who was perceived by many of us as the greatest hope in Western politics, has managed, in less than three years, to make himself an irrelevant passing phase? How is it possible that the Right consistently wins when the conditions exist for a textbook socialist revolution? Nigel Farage, Britain’s Donald Trump character, is by far the most significant man in British politics. Farage stood up against the entire political establishment, including the media and the commercial elites and has promised to change British politics once and for all. So far, it seems he is winning on all fronts.” This is a must-listen interview.

Support The Richie Allen Show by donating at www.richieallen.co.uk Richie has been producing and presenting television and radio programs for the best part of twenty years. The Richie Allen Show airs Monday – Thursday at 5 PM GMT and at 11 AM UK Time each Sunday.


My battle for truth and freedom involves some expensive legal services. I hope that you will consider committing to a monthly donation in whatever amount you can give. Regular contributions will enable me to avoid being pushed against a wall and to stay on top of the endless harassment by Zionist operators attempting to silence me.

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