In whose interest is the Saudi regime acting by targeting Palestinians?

The repression facing Palestinians in Saudi Arabia at the hands of the monarchy’s security forces cannot be countenanced, neither by the ANC-led government, nor by Muslim NGOs and Ulema formations, writes Iqbal Jassat.

We at Media Review Network (MRN-South Africa) yet again express our condemnation of the unelected Saudi monarchy’s ruthless discriminatory actions against Palestinian residents.

We also call the South African Government to add its voice by endorsing the latest UN report on gross violations by Saudi authorities in addition to issuing a strongly worded statement deploring its unfair conduct.

We reiterate silence is not an option especially during this critical time when Israel’s oppression of Palestinians have reached horrific heights.

The repression facing Palestinians in Saudi Arabia at the hands of the monarchy’s security forces cannot be countenanced, neither by the ANC-led government, nor by Muslim NGOs and Ulema formations.

It is no coincidence that members of Hamas have and are being singled out. It lays at the heart of Muhammad bin Salman’s (MBS) campaign to eradicate the presence of Palestine’s Islamic resistance across the region.

The following report from Palestinian sources spell out details: Saudi authorities must stop the arbitrary detention of Palestinians “immediately”, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has said.

The Working Group finds that Mohammed Al Khoudary and Hani Al Khoudary were deprived of their liberty on discriminatory grounds, based on their national origin as Palestinians,” the report says of the two men who have been held in detention since April 2019.

The report described the detention of Palestinians in Saudi prisons as “arbitrary”, stressing that the Saudi government “failed to establish a legal basis for the arrest and detention of Mohammed Al Khoudary and Hani Al Khoudary.”

“The right of Mohammed Al Khoudary and Hani Al Khoudary not to be subjected to arbitrary detention has been violated, because their detention in Saudi Arabia is unreasonable, unlawful, inappropriate and unnecessary due to the “non-observance” and gross violation by Saudi Arabia of their fundamental rights to a fair trial.”

The UN organization accused the Saudi authorities of taking “discriminatory measures” against a group of 60 Palestinians who were arrested en masse. They had their right to a lawyer and to be told the charges they are facing, denied.

Mohammed Saleh Al-Khodari, 83, was appointed in 1993 as the first representative of the Hamas movement in the kingdom. While in detention he has partially lost the ability to move his right hand and is currently relying on his son, who is detained with him, to feed and help him.

In August, the Saudi criminal court issued sentences against a number of Palestinian and Jordanian detainees, ranging from an acquittal to 22 years in prison.

Meanwhile, the Hamas Movement has welcomed the UN’s report. In a statement on Friday, Hamas renewed its appeal to the Saudi leadership to take an immediate decision to end the detention of all the Palestinian prisoners.

“The exposure of al-Khoudary, along with other detained Palestinians and their families, to injustice and severe suffering, contradict the Kingdom’s historical positions in support of the Palestinian people and the Saudi people’s solidarity with the Palestinian cause,” Hamas said.

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a body of independent human rights experts that investigates cases of arbitrary arrest and detention. It is a subsidiary body of the UN and its Human Rights Council.

*Iqbal Jassat, Executive Member of the Media Review Network

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