Hamas leader calls on Saudi to release Palestinian prisoners

Hamas leader urges Saudi Arabia to release Palestinian prisoners
2 min read
05 August, 2021
Haniyeh's comments come amid reports that a Saudi court will next week issue verdicts on the cases of dozens of Palestinian and Jordanian residents who were detained in a 2019 crackdown for allegedly supporting Hamas.
“Hamas wants [both] sovereign will and a judicial decision to end the case of Palestinian prisoners held in the Kingdom,” Haniyeh told a press conference [Getty]

The leader of Hamas has called on Saudi Arabia to release Palestinian prisoners it has held since 2019 amid reports that a court will decide their fate next week.

Saudi authorities detained dozens of Jordanian and Palestinian residents of the kingdom between February and August 2019, accusing them of providing financial support to Gaza's Islamist rulers, Hamas.

On Wednesday, the head of a Jordanian committee dealing with the issue said that verdicts will be issued at court sessions next week.  There has been no word from Saudi Arabia on the development but Al Jazeera reported that trials had taken place two months ago.

Although he did not speak directly on the matter, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he hoped the court's decision would see the release of all those imprisoned in the crackdown.

"Hamas wants [both] sovereign will and a judicial decision to end the case of Palestinian prisoners held in the kingdom," the newly re-elected leader told a press conference

Haniyeh said his group's hopes rested on Saudi Arabia's "historic" support for the Palestinian people and their cause.

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Notable among those detained is 83-year-old Mohammed Al-Khudari, formerly Hamas' envoy to Saudi Arabia, who was arrested along with his son Hani. Rights groups say detainees have been subject to various forms of abuse, include torture and forced disappearances, and denied legal representation.   

Haniyeh's remarks came after Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan reaffirmed Riyadh's view that Palestinian statehood offered the best path to peace in the region.

Last month, Hamas's political bureau chief stressed that his group -  which does not recognise Israel - was ready to "build the best ties" with Riyadh.

"We will not sever our relationship with any country in the region, and we welcome a relationship with Saudi Arabia and any other country on the basis of the Palestinian sovereignty," Khalid Meshaal told Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya TV.