Press Release: Detention Review Panel
Release Date: 10 January 2019
SAUDI ARABIAN GOVERNMENT FAILS TO RESPOND TO THE REQUEST FROM BRITISH PARLIAMENTARIANS AND LAWYERS OF THE DETENTION REVIEW PANEL (DRP) TO VISIT SAUDI WOMEN ACTIVISTS IN DETENTION IN SAUDI ARABIA
· 2nd January 2019 UK parliamentarians and international lawyers submitted a request to the Saudi authorities to visit Saudi Women Activist Detainees in prison to review detention and health conditions
· Deadline of 9 January 2019 for response by Saudi Embassy has not been met; there has been no further comment from Saudi representatives on this matter, despite allegations of torture made by leading human rights organisations
· DRP will continue to prepare report documenting their review of alleged human rights abuses to be published at the end of the month, and welcome additional evidence
British Parliamentarians and lawyers remain committed to visiting women activist detainees in Saudi Arabia and to document/review their health and detention conditions in forthcoming report
LONDON, 10 January 2019 – The DRP – a cross-party group of British parliamentarians and lawyers – are still waiting for a response from the Saudi embassy following their request on 2nd January to visit Saudi women activists detained in Dhahban prison, Saudi Arabia.
Although the DRP requested a response from the Saudi representation in London by 9 January 2019 which has not been met, the DRP remains ready to welcome a response from the Saudi government at any time.
Despite this, the DRP will continue to prepare their report documenting the allegations of human rights abuses towards eight women activists and three male supporters who have been detained and imprisoned by the Saudi government. The allegations include torture, sexual harassment, assault, and denial of access to family members and lawyers. The DRP will continue to review evidence which has been submitted to it.
Speaking today in his capacity as Chair of the DRP, Crispin Blunt MP said:
“The implications of activists being detained and tortured for exercising their freedom of speech and conducting peaceful campaigns is concerning for all individuals seeking to exercise their human rights in Saudi Arabia.
“Our panel remains committed to visiting the Saudi women activists and three of their male supporters detained in Saudi Arabia in order to thoroughly investigate these allegations. At this stage we continue to await a response from the Saudi Arabian government. We remain hopeful that the Saudi authorities will see the opportunity our Review provides for Saudi Arabia to present its case and any changes in policy towards civil society activists”.
Tayab Ali, Partner of ITN solicitors, who acts as the DRP Legal Secretariat and Rapporteur said:
“We are disappointed that the Saudi Arabian government has not responded to the Panel’s request for a visit. The opportunity for Saudi Arabia to allow the DRP members to visit the detainees remains open. The panel has already received significant evidence relating to the detainees and will continue to review that evidence. We ask anyone that wishes to make submissions to the panel do so by sending information via the DRP website www.detentionreview.com ”.