From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Saudi rulers ‘ratchet up’ repressive crackdowns
Monday 21st October 2013
It said the country had continued with the arbitrary detention and torture of activists.
The London-based watchdog released its statement ahead of a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva to discuss the kingdom’s record.
“Saudi Arabia‘s previous promises to the UN have been proven to be nothing but hot air,” said Amnesty spokesman Philip Luther.
He accused the kingdom of relying on “political and economic clout to deter the international community from criticising its dire human rights record.”
Amnesty also criticised a “crackdown including arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture and other ill-treatment over the past four years.”
Mr Luther said that since 2009 “not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression.”
“For all the peaceful activists that have been arbitrary detained, tortured or imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since, the international community has a duty to hold the authorities to account,” he added.
In March Amnesty renewed calls for Saudi authorities to release two rights activists who were given heavy jail terms.
Mohammed al-Gahtani and Abdullah al-Hamed were sentenced to 11 and 10 years imprisonment respectively for violating the law by using Twitter to denounce aspects of political and social life in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
The two men are co-founders of the independent Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association.
“These men are prisoners of conscience who should be released immediately,” said Mr Luther.
“Their peaceful activism against human rights violations deserves praise, not punishment. The only guilty party here is the ghts violations committed by Saudi authorities such as “systemic discrimination of women in both law and practise” and the “abuse of migrant workers.”
It accused the kingdom of “discrimination against minority groups.”
Amnesty also cited “executions based on summary trials and ‘confessions’ extracted under torture.”
In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia last Friday indicated that it intended to turn down the temporary seat on the UN Security Council to which it was elected last week. While couched in general terms, its statement of protest points to deep concerns in the Saudi regime, a longstanding American ally, that the US is cutting across its interests in the Middle East: here.
- Amnesty says Saudi rights record getting worse (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Riyadh ‘ratcheting up repression’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Saudi absolute monarchy threatened by pro-democracy movement (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Amnesty International warns that Saudi Arabia has ‘ratcheted up the repression’ and that human rights are getting worse (rawstory.com)