Saudi Arab

Saudi Arabia moves youngest political prisoner to notorious Dammam jail

Saudi Arabia has moved the country’s youngest political prisoner to a notorious jail in the eastern city of Dammam despite objections by human rights groups and the United Nations.

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) said in a Tuesday report that 16-year-old Murtaja al-Qurayris had been moved to the Dammam Mabahith prison, where prisoners are tortured and ill-treated.

This came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the authorities across Muslim countries typically pardon and release prisoners.

Murtaja al-Qurayris has already spent nearly three years in a Dammam jail without a formal charge or trial since his arbitrary arrest on 20 September 2014.

On that day, the 13-year-old was crossing the King Fahd Bridge connecting Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain with his parents when he was stopped and arbitrarily detained without a warrant.

The Saudi regime has accused al-Qurayris of participating in peaceful demonstrations and in the funeral of protesters killed by the authorities in Eastern Province.

On January 20, 2017, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found al-Qurayris’ detention “in contravention of articles 10, 11, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The UN group further called on the kingdom “to release the minor immediately and to accord to him an enforceable right to compensation in accordance with article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

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