A new UN report has blasted Saudi Arabia for torturing those arrested on “terror-related” charges and persecuting those exercising free speech, saying reports of the kingdom’s so-called liberalization efforts are “completely wide of the mark.”
British lawyer Ben Emmerson, the UN’s special rapporteur on anti-terrorism, concluded the report on Wednesday following a five-day visit to Saudi Arabia.
The UN report said there were “well documented reports of the use of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials against individuals accused of having committed acts of terrorism and the use of coerced confessions as sole or decisive evidence in their conviction.”
“Those who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression are systematically persecuted in Saudi Arabia. Many languish in prison for years. Others have been executed after blatant miscarriages of justice,” it added.
The report also denounced “a culture of impunity” for Saudi officials who are guilty of acts of torture, saying, “Peaceful avenues for redress of grievances are foreclosed by the use of repressive measures to silence civil society.”
Emmerson complained that he had been repeatedly denied access to many prisons or prominent rights activists.