UN special rapporteur on human rights strongly condemned Saudi Arabia for detaining and torturing advocates of freedom of expression under the pretext of fighting terrorism and maintaining national unity.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights Ben Emmerson has recently published a report following a five-day visit to Riyadh, saying that Saudi officials refused to grant him access to prisoners the UN believes are being wrongly held under anti-terror laws.
He also accused the Riyadh leaders of not only denying him access to carry out impartial investigation into Yemen bombings, but also they have arrested many journalists and freedom activists for merely supporting freedom of speech.
He also said he had heard repeated stories of wrongful arrest, misuse of court procedures, cases of torture to extract confessions and clear cases of miscarriages of justice in recent beheadings.
Emmerson also called specifically for the release of 10 named Saudis who he said had been arbitrarily arrested, largely because they had expressed criticism of aspects of the kingdom.
“I strongly condemn use of counter-terrorism legislation with penal sanctions against individuals peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, as well as freedom of religion or belief and freedom of peaceful association and assembly.”
At a press conference later he said, “I have received numerous reports about prosecution, on the basis of this law, of human rights defenders, writers, bloggers and journalists in connection with their expression of non-violent views. Despite repeated requests and efforts, the government was unable to give access to any of the individuals whose names I provided to be interviewed,” the Guardian reported.