Amnesty criticises Saudi Arabia's 'shocking' human rights violations
22 Jul 2009
In a 65-page report, the human rights organisation said an unknown number of detained people have been held in secret without access to lawyers or visitors for months or years while those brought to trial often face grossly unfair procedures.
"The scale of human rights violations is shocking. Thousands of people have had their lives turned upside down or destroyed by violations of their rights in the name of countering terrorism," Amnesty suggested in the detailed report.
An unknown number of human rights defenders, advocates of political reform and members of religious minorities who had committed no crime recognised in international law had been caught in a "security-related repression", it wrote.
Local human right activists have long accused Saudi Arabia of using counter-terrorism efforts to detain opposition activists demanding democratic reforms or refusing to provide figures of detained and arrested people.
The United States, which is Saudi Arabia's main ally, and other Western countries rarely criticise the Gulf Arab state, which controls more than a fifth of global crude reserves and is a major holder of dollar assets as well as a key trading nation.