SHAFAQNA- Activists, clerics and other perceived critics of the Saudi crown prince, continue to be arbitrarily detained more than a year after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
In a new report released on Monday, the New York-based group said.
Legitimate reforms benefiting women mask a broader crackdown on freedom and dissent in Saudi Arabia, the international monitor Human Rights Watch said Monday, according to nbcnews.
Bin Salman has overseen the relaxing of a number of the kingdom’s restrictive social laws since assuming a leadership position in the Saudi government four years ago, most recently allowing women over 21 to obtain passports and travel abroad without the permission of a male guardian. But behind the scenes, Saudi authorities have harshly oppressed perceived opponents of the prince.
These reforms have belied a “darker reality”, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch, including the mass arrests of women’s rights activists, a number of whom have allegedly been sexually assaulted and suffered torture including whipping and electric shocks, theguardian reported.
HRW said that since Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi agents in the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey – a crime Prince Mohammed has sought to distance himself from – at least 30 more detentions and arrests have been carried out , aljazeera.
Apart from those dramatic moves, HRW said Riyadh had more quietly been targeting family members of prominent dissidents and activists.
HRW also cited reports that Saudi Arabia has used surveillance technologies to hack into the online accounts of government critics and infected their mobile phones with spyware.
After this week’s announcement that state energy giant Aramco is destined for a blockbuster stock market debut, the rights group also highlighted the case of economist Essam al-Zamil who, activists believe, was targeted because of his scepticism over the IPO.
Zamil, “who had called into question Saudi projections of revenue from the Aramco initial public offering”, is on trial for alleged membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, it said.
The report noted the detention of dissidents and harassment of their families was not a new phenomenon in the kingdom history, but the wave of repression since late 2017 had been distinguished by new repressive measures , press tv told.
“But what has made the post-2017 arrest waves notable and different, however, is the sheer number and range of individuals targeted over a short period of time as well as the introduction of new repressive practices.”