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Riyadh court dismisses Saudi female prisoner’s torture, harassment claims

Published: Updated:

The Riyadh Criminal Court on Tuesday issued a preliminary ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by a Saudi female citizen claiming she was subjected to torture and harassment while in detention, according to a report by Asharq al-Awsat.

The Asharq al-Awsat report, which did not name the female detainee but identified her as a “prisoner currently in detention on security charges,” said the dismissal came after the public prosecution’s investigation determined that there is no evidence to substantiate the allegation.

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Judicial authorities reviewed the weekly medical examination reports in addition to medical reports conducted upon her request, the testimonies of a number of officials in the Human Rights Commission and a number of officials in the prison, in addition to the testimonies of a number of detainees with her in the prison during the period of her detention.

During the session, which Asharq al-Awsat said it had attended, the judge confirmed that it was not proven in the court that the detainee was subjected to torture or ill-treatment during the period of her arrest and during her hunger strike.

The judge has given the plaintiff 30 days to present her objection to the initial ruling before submitting it to the Court of Appeal.

“The plaintiff was given the chance to review all documents and challenge them in previous court sessions, and she was given the opportunity to present evidence of any kind to substantiate her claims during several occasions, but she did not submit it,” read Asharq al-Awsat’s report.

“The case was opened upon her request, and therefore the plaintiff’s delay in responding, led to the prolonging of the case. The court’s work was hampered, given that the court examines a number of cases, and that the accused all receive equal treatment,” Asharq al-Awsat quoted the judge as saying during the court session.

After completing the investigations, the Public Prosecution presented to the court that the plaintiff’s allegations came without evidence, according to Asharq al-Awsat’s report.

“‎‏Rather, during the investigation of her case, she did not accuse certain persons or provide their descriptions to help with identifying them after claiming that she was blindfolded. In addition, she failed to prove she was transferred from Thahban prison (in western Saudi Arabia) to a secret location, or that she was subjected to torture and harassment. Further, the testimony of a number of officials and specialists in the prison, and the testimonies of a number of detainees with her in the prison during the period of her detention prove that she was not transferred outside the prison at any time during her detention nor was she subject to torture or ill-treatment,” Asharq al-Awsat’s report read.

The Public Prosecution also confirmed to Asharq al-Awsat that video recording and surveillance cameras did not show the plaintiff being subjected to torture and being deprived of sleep during her hunger strike in al-Ha’ir prison in Riyadh.

“Rather, she was dealt with in accordance with approved health protocols, under constant medical supervision to monitor her health case during the period of her hunger strike to ensure her safety and prevent potential complications that endanger her health as a result of her strike,” Asharq al-Awsat’s reported, citing the court.

Asharq al-Awsat’s report also said that the accused is currently facing another separate security-related case “that has not yet been decided.”

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