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UK MPs say detained female Saudi activists being treated badly

LONDON: A group of UK members of Parliament said that the detailed female Saudi activists were being treated badly.

The MPs said that the treatment being meted out to the activists imprisoned in Saudi Arabia was below international standards.

The Detention Review Panel (DRP) – a cross party group of British parliamentarians and lawyers –  said their treatment in detention meet the threshold for torture.

In a statement, the DRP said that Saudi authorities at the highest levels could be responsible for the torture of the female detainees, who were arrested in the kingdom last year.

“Our conclusions are stark. The Saudi women activist detainees have been treated so badly as to sustain an international investigation for torture. Denied proper access to medical care, legal advice or visits from their families, their solitary confinement and mistreatment are severe enough to meet the international definition of torture. The supervisory chain of command up to the highest levels of Saudi authority would be responsible for this,” DRP Chair, Crispin Blunt MP, said.

The DRP requested last month that they be allowed to visit eight female activists held in Dhahban Prison, located north of Jeddah on the country’s west coast, to ascertain their health conditions and the reasons for their detention. Despite stipulating a deadline of 9 Januar, Saudi authorities in London ignored the request, prompting the group to pursue their inquiries independently.

The DRP was established in 2018 and published its first report reviewing the detention and treatment of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who remains in prison despite deteriorating health.