The UN Committee against Torture posted a letter online, bearing Tuesday’s date, that calls on Saudi Arabia to release over a dozen imprisoned activists and cites credible claims of improper treatment, sexual assault and torture.
The UN group charged with overseeing compliance with the Convention Against Torture claims that seven activists have been held without official charges since May of 2018 and subjected to inhumane treatment and calls for their release. The monitoring group also called for another six peaceful activists to be released, including Raif Badawi, a blogger who has been publicly lashed and is currently serving a 10-year sentence for expressing dissenting opinions, and asks to review cases of corporal punishment to ensure that Saudi Arabia is upholding its obligations under the Convention Against Torture.
The group also asks Saudi Arabia for additional information on all “reprisals against and harassment, intimidation and arrest of human rights defenders and journalists” within 90 days. Specifically, it requests that the Saudi government indicate what measures have been taken to “ensure a prompt, effective and impartial investigation” is underway for current detained activists.
The letter also brings attention to the execution of Jamal Khashoggi, a subject on which the UN has requested an international inquiry, and requests additional information on the investigations Saudi Arabia has undertaken into Khashoggi’s death to ensure they are impartial and address allegations that high-level officials were involved.