Thursday, April 25, 2019 10:47:24 PM
Al Jazeera News :
Three British lawmakers on Monday endorsed reports stating that women activists detained in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, and said responsibility for what is likely a violation of international law could lie with "Saudi authorities at the highest level".
The conclusions of the panel indicate growing uneasiness among Western allies with alleged rights abuses under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto leader who is already facing reproach over last year's murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
A United Nations investigator is now leading an international inquiry into the murder, which has tarnished the crown prince's standing in the West after he won accolades for seeking to ease social restrictions and end the country's dependence on oil revenues.
Those reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including the arrest of over a dozen women's rights campaigners starting last May, most of whom had advocated for the right to drive and an end to the male guardianship system.
Amnesty International said last month it had documented 10 cases of torture and abuse - including sexual harassment, electrocution, flogging and death threats - while the activists were held at an undisclosed location last summer.
Reuters reported earlier that an aide to Prince Mohammed who was fired for his role in the Khashoggi murder personally oversaw the torture of at least one of the women months earlier.
Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy where public protests and political parties are banned, says it does not have political prisoners and denies torture allegations. Officials have said monitoring of activists is needed to ensure social stability.
Yet British lawmakers Crispin Blunt, Layla Moran and Paul Williams said they found reports by international rights groups and news media to be credible, describing the detainees' treatment as "cruel, inhuman and degrading".
The lawmakers, who formed a review panel with prominent lawyers, said the Saudi authorities had also violated international law by holding the detainees incommunicado and denying them access to legal advice.
Culpability rests not only with direct perpetrators but also those who are responsible for or acquiesce to it, they added.
"The Saudi authorities at the highest levels could, in principle, be responsible for the crime of torture," their final report said.
The Saudi government communications office did not reply to a request for comment on the report.
Some of the detained women's rights activists have been accused in Saudi media of belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and supporting Qatar, which is locked in a dispute with Riyadh.
The British lawmakers called on the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and review the allegations against them, and to prosecute those responsible for their mistreatment.
They said requests to visit the detainees in Saudi Arabia have gone unanswered.
"The Saudi women activist detainees have been treated so badly as to sustain an international investigation for torture," said Blunt, a lawmaker in Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party.
"Saudi Arabia stands on the brink. It is not too late to alter course and avert the spiral downwards to catastrophe that the detention of these activists represents," he said.
Independent think-tank Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said when a government comes to power; it takes new initiatives in line with its electoral pledges. Yet nothing mentionable could be seen after the current government took office. It said an entrenched vested group is framing policies, taking the government in its ...
Southampton striker Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history on Tuesday after netting just 7.69 seconds into his side's 1-1 draw at Watford, who snatched a point thanks to Andre Gray's late equaliser.Long's record-breaking goal came immediately after the kick-off when he blocked a clearance from Watford ...
A new anti-Brexit political party launched its campaign Tuesday for next month's European Parliament elections as British lawmakers returned from their Easter break with rumours of fresh bids to topple Prime Minister Theresa May.Change UK, formed by breakaway MPs from Britain's two main parties disgruntled at their stances on Brexit, ...
Actress Sri Reddy who became a sensation for raising her voice against casting couch in Tollywood is back to making the headlines. Sri Reddy, on Friday, wrote an open letter to K Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana and requested him to personally investigate about the sexual harassment that is ...
Actress Priya Anand, who is popular for her roles in Telugu films 180, Ko Antey Koti and Leader, was trolled and called ‘bad luck’ for actors. Tamil actor JK Rithesh, who was recently seen in LKG, has passed away recently due to severe chest pain. Last year, actress Sridevi passed ...
AFP :Islamist suicide bombings that killed more than 300 people in Sri Lanka at the weekend were carried out in revenge for last month's attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, the government said Tuesday, citing an initial police probe.The revelation came as the death toll in the Easter Sunday ...
THE gas line explosion that killed two garment workers and injured six others in a residential block in Narayanganj on early Monday is not an isolated incident, rather an explicit exposure of the danger of derelict, faulty and illegal gas connections and substandard gas burner uses. We observe that incidents ...
Cristiano Ronaldo said on Saturday he is "1,000 percent committed" to staying with Juventus next season after claiming his first Serie A title.Massimiliano Allegri's side needed just one point to nail down its eighth straight league championship, which helped ease some of the pain of its shock Champions League exit ...
Reuters, Washington :Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to the impeachment of US President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.Some party leaders have cautioned against impeachment just 18 ...