Rights watchdog to set up offices in Saudi prisons

January 10, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has hailed a decision to allow it to open offices in the country’s five security prisons.

Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef, the interior minister, said that the decision would help the rights watchdog oversee the prisons, interact with the prisoners and hear their remarks and demands.

“This is great leap forward and a significant landmark in human rights activism,” Saleh Al Shareeda, head of the financial and investment committee, said.

The move will allow the society to act as a neutral monitor and will help guarantee the rights of detainees.

“Saudi Arabia is the first Islamic country to allow an independent human rights society to set up offices in security prisons. This will allow the society to work according to its own mechanism,” Al Shareeda said, quoted by Saudi Arabic daily Al Riyadh.

The Saudi rights watchdog is looking forward to a prompt court decision on detainees held on security charges, especially those who are expected to be given a prison sentence that will be shorter than the time they spent in detention, he said.

“The number of detainees who have been released since we visited prisons has exceeded 2,500 and we urge the families of people held in detention to contact us for any query on them,” he said.

The daily said that some prisons have already proceeded with setting up offices for human rights activists and special rooms where they can sit and talk with detainees without any form of monitoring.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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