Amnesty says urgent healthcare needed for Saudi-detained Hamas representative

Amnesty says urgent healthcare needed for Saudi-detained Hamas representative
3 min read
19 February, 2021
Mohammed Al-Khudari, Hamas's representative to Saudi Arabia, has lost the ability to move his right hand and was receiving cancer treatment when he was detained in 2019.
Mohammed Al-Khudari is not being treated for cancer and other conditions in detention [Twitter]
The health of a former Hamas representative in Saudi Arabia who has been detained there since April 2019 has deteriorated due to a lack of adequate healthcare, Amnesty International warned this week.

83-year-old Mohammed Al-Khudari has partially lost the ability to move his right hand and is currently relying on his son, who is also detained with him, to feed and help him, the global human rights group said in a report.

He was receiving cancer treatment when he was arrested in April 2019, including surgery and radiotherapy. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased fears for his health, due to his advanced age and underlying medical conditions.  

Amnesty said in a report that both al-Khudari and his son have endured "gross human rights violations including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, being held incommunicado and solitary confinement."

Amnesty added that the two Palestinians had been denied access to legal representation by Saudi authorities.

"Furthermore, both men were interrogated behind closed doors without the presence or participation of their lawyers. Their treatment and conditions of detention placed a great deal of stress and psychological pressure on both men, especially Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari,” the report added. 

Al-Khudari and his son were charged before the SaudiSupreme Court with "joining a terrorist group" in March 2020, during a trial of 68 individuals accused of belonging to the Hamas movement.

"Their trial was marred by numerous and serious violations of their rights in the due process, including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention and solitary confinement," Amnesty said.

The organisation called on Riyadh to drop the charges against al-Khudari and his son. It also called for the immediate hospitalization of al-Khudari.

“The denial of access to adequate medical care has caused further deterioration of the health of Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari. Such conduct violates the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.”

Hamas, the Palestinian faction which rules the Gaza Strip, also called on Saudi Arabia to release al-Khudari, Anadolu Agency reported. 

"With great concern, we received a report on Wednesday by Amnesty International about the health status of Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari, the former Hamas representative in Saudi Arabia who has been detained since 2019," the group said in a press statement.

It added that Al-Khudari's condition had worsened to the extent that he had " has lost the ability to eat directly."

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Hamas have worsened as Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman has taken a warmer stance towards Israel, which has launched multiple assaults on the Hamas-held Gaza Strip.  

While Riyadh and Tel Aviv have yet to announce an official normalization of relations, bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu were reported to have held a secret meeting in the Saudi city Neom last year. In January, bin Salman reportedly refused further contact with Israel after the meeting was exposed in Israeli media.

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