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Looming execution could be carried out at any moment amid continuing violations, degradation, and abuse against detainee Abbas al-Hassan

Abbas al-Hassan

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Despite a final death sentence and the transfer of his case to the Presidency of State Security, Abbas Hassan, a detainee in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is still being subjected to violations.

According to information obtained by the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR), al-Hassan was subjected to psychological and physical torture in January 2019. On 3 January 2019, an officer transferred al-Hassan from his cell in al-Hair Prison to solitary confinement as punishment after being accused of illegally receiving eyeglasses from a visitor.

Although al-Hassan asserted that the eyeglasses had been with him since his arrest and denied the charges against him, he was placed in solitary confinement for a week in harsh conditions. He suffers from high blood pressure and heart disease, yet he was forced to stand for hours.

Furthermore, Hassan was subjected to a form of torture where investigatorsbound his hands and legs and forced him to run quickly while they cursed and threatened him. When he could not go faster, he was beaten on sensitive areas of his body.

On 12January 2019, an officer entered al-Hassan’s solitary cell and asked him why he was arrested. When al-Hassan told him, the officer ordered him returned to the general prison. A few days after his release from solitary confinement, his family could see the effects of torture on his face, prompting them to file a complaint. However, the prison administration demanded that the complaint be dropped on the grounds that what the family alluded to was al-Hassan’s own personal behavior.

Al-Hassan had already been tortured for three months over the course of his investigation, during which time he was prevented from communicating with the outside world or meeting with anyone. During the interrogation, security forces proceeded to tie his hands and legs, blindfold him, and hit him on sensitive parts of his body. He was also left for a long time with his hands and feet shackled behind him and prevented from sleeping.

In March 2018, special rapporteurs issued a statement expressing their concern about al-Hassan’s impending death sentence – despite his subjection to torture – and calling on the government to abolish the punishment. This came after they contacted the Saudi government about al-Hassan and the twelve other detainees in the same case.

The ESOHR believes that the latest violations against detainee Abbas al-Hassan are in addition to previous systemic reprisals against detainees in political and other similar cases. Al-Hassan’s torture is in blatant disregard for the special rapporteurs’ correspondence with the government and their public calls regarding his case.

The ESOHR stresses that the immediate remedy is tolift the death sentence against al-Hassan and his fellow detaineesin the case, and to guarantee fair trials for the detainees,under conditions that conform with international standards and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

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