Farcical Saudi Justice
The State Department’s 2017 human rights report on Saudi Arabia said the following about its disturbing human rights abuses:
The most significant ones include “unlawful killings…without requisite due process; torture; arbitrary arrest and detention, including of lawyers, human rights activists, and antigovernment reformists; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; restrictions on freedom of expression, including on the internet, and criminalization of libel; restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, movement, and religion; citizens’ lack of ability and legal means to choose their government through free and fair elections; trafficking in persons; violence and official gender discrimination against women…and criminalization of same sex sexual activity.”
It’s not a pretty picture, including the absence of judicial fairness in rubber-stamp Saudi courts. Guilt by accusation is automatic, the way Israeli military courts treat thousands of Palestinian political prisoners.
Saudi ruling authorities ban fundamental freedoms, imprison and/or assassinate critics, prohibit dissent, along with free expression, assembly, and virtually everything conflicting with or opposing its despotic rule.
According to state-controlled media, no independent sources tolerated, the (kangaroo court) trial of 11 suspected Jamal Khashoggi suspects began in Rihadh.
At least five charged face capital punishment. According to the spokeswoman for the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR) Ravina Shamdasani, trial proceedings for the 11 suspects lack fairness.
She reiterated her OHCHR’s call for an independent investigation “with international involvement,” including Turkish officials because Khashoggi’s murder occurred in their country – adding the OHCHR opposes capital punishment.
He was murdered inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate by a 15-man hit squad dispatched by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), ordering his elimination.
Turkish authorities claim his body was dismembered, then removed from the consulate in suitcases.
Video aired by Turkish media showed members of the Saudi hit team leaving the consulate with suitcases believed to contain Khashoggi’s dismembered body parts – taken to the consul general’s residence.
It was searched but not an adjacent well Saudi officials kept Turkish investigators from examining for evidence of his disappearance.
The location of his body, or its parts if dismembered, remains a key unanswered question.
Khashoggi was killed over three months ago. Between Christmas and New Year’s day, a long-expected kingdom reshuffling was announced, the first one since Khashoggi’s murder.
King Salman demoted foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir to minister of state for foreign affairs, appointing former finance minister/minister of state Ibrahim al-Assaf to replace him.
Other announced changes included prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz named chief of the national guard, replacing Prince Miteb bin Abdullah.
General Khalid bin Qirar al-Harbi was appointed general security chief, Musaed al-Aiban named national security adviser. Saudi envoy to Britain Mohammed bin Nawaf was recalled. Other political and security council changes were announced.
The moves aimed to bolster MBS, the kingdom wanting designated scapegoats to be blamed for what he clearly ordered, hoping the international furor over Khashoggi’s elimination will abate.
Riyadh authorities lied saying all members of the hit squad dispatched to kill Khashoggi were arrested. Saudi forensics expert Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, believed responsible for dismembering his body, was told to stay out of public view for now. He’s reportedly living in Jeddah.
Changes announced haven’t affected US weapons sales t the kingdom or endless war in Yemen. It rages despite what was agreed on by warring parties in Sweden last month.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”