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HRW Urges Saudi Arabia to Probe Ritz Carlton Abuse Claims
HRW Urges Saudi Arabia to Probe Ritz Carlton Abuse Claims

HRW Urges Saudi Arabia to Probe Ritz Carlton Abuse Claims

HRW Urges Saudi Arabia to Probe Ritz Carlton Abuse Claims

A human rights monitor has called on Saudi Arabia to immediately investigate the claims that authorities physically mistreated prominent people who were arrested last year, and hold those responsible to account.
The US-based Human Rights Watch statement on Wednesday referred to detainees, including princes, businessmen, and former and current government officials, held late last year, Al Jazeera reported.
“The alleged mistreatment at the Ritz Carlton is a serious blow to [Saudi crown prince] Mohammad bin Salman’s claims to be a modernizing reformist,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“It is great that the Saudi government wants to combat corruption, but its alleged tactics look more like extortion, and make a mockery of the rule of law,” Whitson said, “as the new government tries to sell its reformist credentials to the public, governments, and investors, they should take a hard, skeptical look at what actually happened in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton and its implications.
“While MBS jaunts across Western capitals to gin up foreign investments, investors should think twice the Saudis’ cavalier dismissal of the rule of law and fundamental rights.”
A report by the New York Times on Monday suggested that 17 of the detainees who were mistreated required hospitalization for physical abuse.
They included one who later died in custody, the report said, “with a neck that appeared twisted [and] a badly distended body and other signs of abuse.” It identified Major General Ali al-Qahtani as the man who died in detention.
Human Rights Watch warned at the time that the November 4 mass arrests on corruption allegations raised human rights concerns and appeared to take place outside of any recognizable legal framework, with detainees forced to trade financial and business assets for their freedom. Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, where many were held, became an unofficial detention centre.
On January 30, Saudi Arabia’s attorney general announced that authorities had “subpoenaed” 381 people in the corruption probe, adding all who settled with the government or against whom there was not sufficient evidence, were released.
The government said it had seized over $106 billion worth of assets, including “real estate, commercial entities, securities, cash and other assets.”
The statement said that 56 people remained in custody “to continue the investigations process.”

 

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