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Saudi political dissident dies after suspected torture in prison: Activists

26 October 2016 15:48

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A human rights activist says a female Saudi opposition figure has died in jail after suffering suspected excessive levels of torture.

The director and founder of Washington-based Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs, Ali al-Ahmed, wrote on his Twitter account that Hannan al-Dhaibani had died in Zahban Prison, located 19 kilometers from the western Saudi port city of Jeddah, on October 10, Arabic-language New Khaleej news website reported.

Ahmed added that prison authorities then notified Dhaibani’s parents of her death and asked them to perform funeral prayers inside the detention facility.

The woman’s parents were only allowed to see their daughter’s face, before the dead body was transferred to an unknown location and buried there.

Dhaibani’s father and mother were also forced to sign a disclaimer stating that their daughter had died of natural causes.

Riyadh has long been criticized by international bodies for its grim human rights record, draconian restrictions on freedom of speech, and harsh punishments handed out to the dissent.

On May 29, Saudi Arabia’s so-called Specialized Criminal Court sentenced human rights activist Abdulaziz al-Shubaily to eight years in prison on various charges, including communicating with foreign organizations and providing information to London-based Amnesty International for use in its reports on Riyadh’s dire human rights situation.

Blogger Raif Badawi has also been imprisoned by Saudi authorities since 2012. He has been sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for criticizing Saudi Arabia’s extremist Wahhabi ideology.

Back in early January, the Riyadh regime announced the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr in defiance of international calls for his release. The move triggered massive condemnations around the world.

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