UN rights official commends Saudi prison conditions

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Ben Emmerson commended Saudi prisons’ professionalism and respect of human rights

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United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson said terror detainees and convicts in Saudi Arabia have good prison conditions which lead by example on the international level.

Emmerson recently visited Saudi Arabia where he met with officials to discuss the kingdom’s efforts in combating terrorism. During his visit, he commended Saudi prisons’ professionalism and respect of human rights.

He also voiced his admiration of Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center and praised the humanitarian aid and psychological support it provides to terror convicts and how it includes families in its counseling process.

“I can say that the Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center’s work according to the applied standards is a role model,” Emmerson said.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya.net, Emmerson commended the transparency of relevant Saudi officials “in the investigation commissions, general prosecution, interior and justice ministries, human rights commissions and the counseling center as they look after all the aspects pertaining to the detainees’ cases.”

al arabiya
al arabiya

“During my visit, I personally observed the situation of terror convicts and detainees at al-Ha’ir Prison. The prison’s sections and wings greatly respects detainees’ rights, such as the cells which allow air and sunlight inside in addition to the high-level healthcare sections,” Emmerson added.

He also lauded the Saudi authorities for addressing the repercussions of terror operations, for following up on the condition of families whose sons are involved in terrorist acts, for providing support to victims of terrorism and for allowing those who are accused of terror charges, whether Saudis or foreigners, to communicate with their family members.

al arabiya
al arabiya

Emmerson also said that the Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center is “like no other in the world” thanks to its programs that are based on a comprehensive plan which includes social and psychological therapy and provides economic support, such as providing jobs to many enlisted in its programs and providing financial support to families.

He commended the center’s activities such as art therapy and praised it for religiously following up on those with extremist ideologies that are far from Islamic teachings thus helping them integrate in society.

al arabiya
al arabiya

“The counseling center’s continuous support program does a great job at rehabilitating extremist young men and integrating them as efficient members in their societies through a series of programs and activities,” Emmerson added.

“I was lucky enough to attend a trial at the Special Criminalized Court in Riyadh. This allowed me to closely see how people involved in terrorist crimes are tried and helped me understand the nature of courts’ work,” Emmerson said, adding it was a positive visit full of Saudi officials’ cooperation.

al arabiya
al arabiya

He added that those who want to evaluate or criticize the conditions of security detainees in Saudi Arabia or the extent of international human rights’ standards, then they must go to Saudi Arabia and observe the situation in person.

“I can say that the conditions of detainees and the way they are treated on a daily basis as well as the adopted measures are one of the best in the world,” he added.

*This article can also be viewed in Arabic on AlArabiya.net

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