An independent human rights group has warned that skin and stomach cancers are fairly common among dissident Saudi prisoners as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against rights campaigners and intellectuals widens in the conservative kingdom.
Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page on Friday that several factors, including profound inattention to the cleanness of food containers for inmates as well as obstinate refusal to tidy prison cells, are responsible for the prevalence of the cancers.
Separately, Saudi women’s rights activist Maysa al-Mani has been arrested for unknown reasons, following a raid on her home in the capital Riyadh by regime security forces.
Mani ran a campaign in Riyadh’s fourth district for the municipal elections back in 2015. She, however, did not win a seat.
She was reportedly a government consultant, and had worked on Saudi Arabian municipal governance. She has been active in the women’s driving campaign and has campaigned for voting rights for women in municipal elections since 2011.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.
Saudi officials have also intensified crackdown in the country’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.
Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.
Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.
In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.