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Why Are Palestinians ‘Disappearing’ in Saudi Arabia? by Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Inst.)

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Oct. 17, 2019

  • The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months
  • Euro-Med said it considers the “practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial, including knowing charges against and the right to defense and access to a lawyer… [and] affirms that the relevant authorities do not comply with the international legal rules that guarantee the simplest rights of litigation for any individual…”
  • The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia…. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.
  • It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints.

Dozens of Palestinians have been “disappearing” in Saudi Arabia in recent months and are believed are being held in detention in the kingdom’s prisons, according to Palestinian sources and international human rights organizations.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in the West Bank, which regularly condemns Israel for arresting Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and other anti-Israel activities, has been reluctant to speak out against the Saudi purge of Palestinians, ostensibly for security reasons, not to harm its relations with the kingdom.

The PA is not only keeping mum about the unprecedented Saudi crackdown, but it is also trying to prevent the families of the detainees from protesting in public. Last week, the PA’s Preventive Security Service summoned the family of Palestinian engineer Abdullah Odeh, being held in a Saudi prison, and warned them not to protest their son’s detention.

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