Sunday, 28 March 2021 10:30 AM [ Last Update: Sunday, 28 March 2021 10:37 AM ]
Hundreds of Palestinians have staged a protest in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, urging Saudi Arabia to release two officials from the Hamas resistance movement who are imprisoned in the kingdom.
The demonstration took place on Saturday, with the participants chanting slogans against Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported.
They called on the Riyadh regime to release Muhammad al-Khudari, 83, and his son Hani, who are being kept behind bars in Saudi Arabia over the past three years.
Abdul Majid al-Khudari, a brother of the elderly inmate, told reporters during the protest that his family had repeatedly sent messages to Saudi officials demanding the detainees’ immediate release, but it had received no response.
“Today, we gathered here to tell the world that there is a human being (Muhammad al-Khudari) who was subjected to oppression and is now in a Saudi prison. He is suffering from cancer,” he said, noting that his brother’s presence in Saudi Arabia was legal and coordinated with the kingdom.
Al-Khudari and his son were arbitrarily arrested on April 4, 2019 and remained in detention without charge for almost one year. The father was undergoing cancer treatment when he was taken into custody.
Both men were forcibly disappeared for one month after their arrest, and held incommunicado and in solitary confinement for the next two months of their detention.
According to Amnesty International, “the two men were interrogated behind closed doors without the presence or participation of their lawyers, and their treatment and conditions of detention have caused them major stress and psychological pressure, especially Dr. Muhammad al-Khudari, as denying him access to adequate medical care led to worsening his health condition”.
“These conducts violate the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.”
On March 8, 2020, they were charged before the Saudi Supreme Court with “joining a terrorist group,” as part of a collective trial of 68 Hamas members.
The trial “was marred by numerous and serious violations of their rights in the due process, including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention and solitary confinement,” according to Amnesty International.
Israel arrests 3 Hamas leaders ahead of elections
On Friday, Israeli forces arrested three prominent Hamas leaders, Hatem Qafisha, Issa al-Jabari and Mazen al-Natsheh, in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
The arrests come as Palestinian political factions are preparing for legislative elections on May 22, in which Hamas is expected to win a majority of seats in the Parliament.
Earlier this week, Israeli forces released two Hamas members after detaining them for interrogation from the Jalazone refugee camp north of Ramallah, and arrested five former Hamas prisoners.
In early March, Israeli media reported that the regime’s spy agency Shin Bet had contacted Hamas members and supporters in the occupied West Bank and warned them against running in the upcoming polls.
According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a total of 4,400 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently held in Israeli detention facilities.
They experience numerous rights violations, including torture, repression, assault and the denial of proper medical treatment.
The regime in Tel Aviv has an infamous “administrative detention” system, under which it imprisons Palestinians without trial or charge, with some prisoners being held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.
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