British MPs call on Magnitsky’s sanctions against Saudi Arabia for prisoner abuse
A group of British MPs called on the UK and other countries to halt extraditions to Saudi Arabia and impose Magnitsky-style sanctions on the country’s officials in response to “gravely worrying allegations” of human rights violations. human rights.
The appeal is part of a report by a panel set up to investigate the detention of former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef (MBN) and Prince Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz, a brother of King Salman. The two men were arrested in March 2020 and have been held in locations unknown since then, but have not yet been charged with anything.
the survey panel was chaired by Crispin Blunt, former chairman of the House of Commons Special Committee on Foreign Affairs, and also included fellow Troy MP Imran Ahmad Khan and Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and International Development spokesperson Layla Moran, as well than a number of lawyers.
In a report released today, the panel said it was “highly likely” that the two men are being arbitrarily detained and denied access to their lawyers, doctors and family members. It also concludes that “on the balance of probabilities, the allegations made on behalf of detainees are likely to be true and are consistent with the general treatment of prisoners, especially human rights activists.”
MBN was held in solitary confinement for at least six months after his arrest. It appears to be over, but the report says evidence before the panel “suggests that he has been threatened with return to solitary confinement if he does not release funds to the Saudi authorities.”
The report adds that “there are real concerns that the two detainees were denied access to appropriate and adequate medical care, leading to deterioration of their health … The detainees were subjected to treatment. cruel, inhuman or degrading ”.
Path to disaster
Talk to ForbesBlunt said the purpose of the report was to be constructive and that he wanted to see the Saudi authorities change their approach. “The further you go on this path [they’re on] the harder it is to back down. But this path leads to disaster. So they have to change, ”he said.
In light of its findings, the group recommended that other countries consider imposing Magnitsky-style sanctions in response to Saudi Arabia’s failure to meet its international human rights obligations.
He also recommended that international cooperation in other areas be curtailed and in particular that any attempt by Riyadh to use Interpol to target its own citizens “be viewed with preemptive skepticism” and that other governments should “suspend agreements. transfer of prisoners. and extradition treaties ”with Saudi Arabia.
Governments should also pressure Riyadh to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, argues the panel.
The report also suggests that other governments should review their social media laws by requiring that these platforms “try to prevent, help identify and at least not facilitate public intimidation campaigns by state actors or other non-responsible groups or individuals who appear to be coordinated by the state. actors. “
Saudi authorities did not cooperate with the investigation. Although its ambassador to London, Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al-Saud, met the three MPs in October, the Saudi government did not testify before the panel, nor did it allow the panel members to travel to the kingdom to meet. the two inmates. Despite this lack of official cooperation, Blunt said: “I am convinced that we have a good analysis of what is happening to political detainees.”
The report adds to the growing critical coverage of Saudi Arabia and the approach taken to political opponents by King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, new charges were brought against squads sent from Riyadh to kill opponents abroad. Saad Al-Jabri has filed a complaint in New York, alleging that MBS sent a team to Canada to kill him.
Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet discovered unusual actions by the Saudi government in the summer of 2018, when Riyadh demanded diplomatic cover be given to a ten-person security team sent to the Scandinavian country. The Norwegian police security service informed exiled activist Iyad El-Baghdadi, who lives in Norway, of the incident.
Saudi Arabia has also been accused by human rights groups of mistreating large numbers of people, mainly Ethiopian migrants who are being held in “squalid conditions”.