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Saudi official denies reports of detainee torture

Saudi official denies reports of detainee torture

The public prosecution said it has prepared an indictment list and that the cases are set to be heard soon

Those detained in Saudi prisons do not face torture, a senior Saudi official has said, adding that media reports of human rights violations were “false”.

Several detainees accused of “organising activities undermining Saudi Arabia’s security” have been treated well in accordance with the law, deputy attorney general Shalaan bin Rajeh Al-Shalaan told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Al-Shalaan particularly stressed that media reports about one of the female detainees facing torture “were false,” stating that the public prosecutor’s office, the Human Rights Commission and the National Society for Human Rights had all looked into the matter and found no evidence.

“The detainee in question, as well as all the other detainees, enjoy their full rights,” he said. “Women, in particular have designated spaces supervised by female guards.”

He asserted that all Saudi jails were supervised by the public prosecutor’s office.

His remarks come after rights groups and the families of some of the female detainees – including Loujain al-Hathloul – say they have faced harassment and torture during interrogation.

Several activists were arrested in May last year – just ahead of the lifting of a decades-long ban on female drivers in April – on charges of undermining security and supporting enemies of the state. Some of them were later released.

On Friday, the public prosecution announced that it had “concluded its investigation and prepared the indictment list against the defendants”, and that it will refer the cases to “the relevant court,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The statement did not identify the defendants nor provide a date for court proceedings.

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