Saudi using anti-terror laws to conduct torture, says UN report
Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail|08 June 2018|23 Ramadaan 1439
The United Nations has accused Saudi Arabia of using its anti-terror laws to supress any opposition or dissent, imprison human rights defenders and conduct torture.
In a report it published following a five day official tour and inspection of the Kingdom at the invitation of the Saudi government itself, the UN said:
Those who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression are systematically persecuted in Saudi Arabia … Many languish in prison for years. Others have been executed after blatant miscarriages of justice.
The report goes on to make claims of torture, saying that “a culture of impunity prevails for public officials who are guilty of acts of torture and other ill-treatment,” enhanced by the “use of repressive measures to silence civil society.”
Shortly after the inquiry and inspection was conducted, the latest wave of crackdowns on dissent came as the government arrested, detained and charged a large number of human rights advocates in May.
British international lawyer QC Ben Emmerson, who also serves as the UN’s special rapporteur on anti-terrorism, said that it is “a matter of shame for the UN that it allowed Saudi onto the UN human rights council (HRC)” in 2016.
The Kingdom has been undergoing a period of social and political reform for the past few years, particularly under the tenure of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who has dominated the political and economic path of the country.
One of the reforms that Bin Salman enacted was to lift the notorious ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, and women are set to officially be allowed to drive in the Kingdom from 24 June. Many of the activists who were arrested recently are the very ones who campaigned for women’s rights and helped pave the way for the ban to be lifted.
Some of the other ground-breaking reforms that have been enacted include the permissibility for women to join the Saudi armed forces back and to be able to drive taxis. These reforms fit into the overarching Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s ambitious programme of social modernisation and economic diversification in order to move away from its oil-dependent economy.
Source – MEMO