Families of Jordanians detained in Saudi Arabia stage sit-in protest outside Amman foreign ministry

Families of Jordanians detained in Saudi Arabia stage sit-in protest outside Amman foreign ministry
Families of 68 Jordanians and Palestinians detained in Saudi Arabia since 2019 have held a sit-in protest outside the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, calling on the government to take "serious" action to secure their release.
2 min read
24 June, 2021
Palestinians in Gaza have also protested Saudi Arabia's detention of their loved ones [Getty]

Families of Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners detained in Saudi Arabia held a sit-in protest outside the Jordanian foreign ministry in Amman, calling on the Jordanian government to intervene to free their relatives.

Between February and August 2019, Saudi authorities detained 68 Jordanians and Palestinians living in the kingdom, accusing them of providing support to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, a Saudi court was due to pronounce a verdict in their case but the presiding judge delayed this.

Among the detainees is 83-year-old Mohammed Al-Khudari, who was previously Hamas' representative to Saudi Arabia. He was suffering from cancer when he was arrested and lost the ability to move his right hand while in detention due to a lack of adequate healthcare.

Al-Khudari was arrested with his son Hani and last February Amnesty International condemned the continued detention of both men, saying that they had been interrogated without the presence of lawyers and subjected to ill-treatment and abuse.

The Jordanian committee dealing with the issue of the detainees in Saudi Arabia said that it had organised the sit-in outside the Foreign Ministry in Amman to call on the government to take a "serious" attitude to what it called "delays by the Saudi side in solving this problem".

Arabic news website Arabi 21 published photographs showing dozens of family members protesting the continued detention of their loved ones.

The UK-based Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) called on the international community to intervene to free the Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners “immediately and without conditions” according to Arabi 21.

It warned that Saudi authorities could use fabricated evidence to sentence the detainees to prison terms and said that the courts looking into the case "lacked the minimum standards of justice".

The AOHR said that the detainees had been subjected to beatings, torture, forced disappearance and other forms of abuse by Saudi authorities, while court sessions had been held without any lawyers representing the detainees.

Thousands of political detainees are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, including human rights activists and dissident clerics, and many have died in custody as a result of medical neglect.