Saudi Arabia accused of abusing political detainee

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Saudi Arabia has mistreated a surgeon it has detained for nearly four years, his lawyer charged
© AFP/File Mustafa Ozer
Saudi Arabia has mistreated a surgeon it has detained for nearly four years, his lawyer charged
© AFP/File Mustafa Ozer

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Saudi Arabia has mistreated a surgeon it has detained for nearly four years without trial on accusations of “backing and funding terrorism,” his Kuwaiti lawyer charged on Thursday.

Saud al-Hashemi, a 46-year-old Saudi, was arrested and detained in a prison in the holy city of Mecca after he criticised the political situation in the kingdom on Al-Jazeera television, Osama al-Munawer told AFP.

“We hold the Saudi authorities responsible for any hazard that may be inflicted on my client due to mistreatment,” said Munawer, adding that his client’s health condition has deteriorated.

Hashemi, a father of nine, was sent to court only last week in a violation of Saudi law which bans detaining people for more than six months without trial.

“Prison authorities kept him in a cold air-conditioned room without clothes for four days before taking him to the judge… They also forced him to sign a document that he will not seek the help of a lawyer,” Munawer said.

Hashemi was arrested on February 2, 2007 while meeting in Jeddah with several activists advocating democratic and social reforms in the conservative Muslim monarchy.

Altogether nine activists were rounded up, seven of whom remain in jail and now face trial. The other two were released over health issues.