Saudi court sentences 'Hamas leader' to 15 years jail in 'sham' mass trail

Saudi court sentences 'Hamas leader' to 15 years jail in 'sham' mass trail
A Saudi court on Sunday issued various sentences against 69 Palestinian and Jordanian detainees, with some handed jail terms of up to 22 years, over alleged support for Hamas.
3 min read
09 August, 2021
Those who received jail terms include the former Hamas representative in the kingdom Mohammed al-Khoudary [Getty]

A former Hamas representative in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Saudi criminal court on Sunday.

Mohammed Al-Khudari was charged with "supporting Hamas", his brother Abdel-Majed al-Khudari told Anadolu Agency, adding that the sentence included "clemency for half the term (seven-and-a-half years)".

His son Hani Al-Khudari was also sentenced to three years in prison, he added.

It follows a mass trial against 69 Palestinian and Jordanian detainees accused of providing financial support to Gaza's Islamist rulers.

Al-Khudari is an 82-year-old veteran Hamas leader who was responsible for managing the movement's relationship with Saudi Arabia for two decades.

In February, Amnesty International said Al-Khudari had undergone surgery and was being treated for prostate cancer when the Saudi authorities arrested him and his son on 4 April 2019.

The rights group called on the Saudi king to ensure that "unfounded charges" against Al-Khudari and his son are dropped and that they are released.

There was no comment from Hamas on Sunday's verdict.

'Sham mass trial'

The court on Sunday also issued various sentences against 67 other Palestinians and Jordanian prisoners, with some handed jail term of up to 22 years, over alleged support for Hamas.

The sentences have not yet been made public, but were confirmed by the Committee of Jordanian Detainees in Saudi Arabia – a Jordanian rights group, and the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK [AOHR UK].

The majority of the detainees were alleged Hamas members who resided in the Gulf country for decades, reports said.

Dozens of Palestinians have been detained by Saudi authorities since February 2019, including businesspeople, academics, and students.

AOHR UK was quick to slam Sunday's "sham mass trail", which it said came after "an unfair and politicised trial that lacked the minimum standards of a fair trial".

"[The] trial lacks any legal basis, especially since all detainees were legal residents in Saudi Arabia with valid residence permits, and none of them committed any kind of violation or breached the Saudi law," the group said.

"It is unacceptable that a number of Palestinian activists continue to be arrested on charges of providing support to orphans and the poor in Palestine."

Critics have accused Riyadh of targeting people linked to Hamas in a show of warming ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Others believe it's part of Saudi Arabia's mistrust of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates.

Last month, Hamas's political bureau chief stressed that his group -  which does not recognise Israel - was ready to "build the best ties" with Riyadh.

"We will not sever our relationship with any country in the region, and we welcome a relationship with Saudi Arabia and any other country on the basis of the Palestinian sovereignty," Khalid Meshaal told Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya TV.