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Saudi Prisoners’ Visits Cancelled, Family Members Arrested

On October 16th sit-in via yasser939393

On October 16th sit-in via yasser939393

During the holiday of Eid al-Adha [October 15], prisoners in certain Saudi prisons are allowed to be visited by their relatives. Many of the visits in this year's holiday have been canceled, causing a lot of discontent among family members.

The issue of arbitrary detainment is already one of the most heated human rights issues in the absolute monarchy. Independent human rights sources say that there are over 30,000 arbitrarily imprisoned people [ar], many of whom were arrested in the massive, post-9/11 “war on terrorism”. Those detainees were arrested without a warrant and have not had access to lawyers and trial.

One of the family members, Yasser al-Ayaf, tweeted his encounter:

Today was supposed to be my father's Eid visit. [The prison warden] al-Jouir says that Abdullah, my father, has changed and we returned with no visit…

Back in August, Yasser's father, who had been arrested for seven years without a trial, had a release order issued by a judge, but it has not been implemented by the Interior Ministry:

Thank God. The order to release my father was issued minutes ago.

Maha al-Dhuhayan, Abdullah al-Ayaf's wife, tweeted:

The Eid has passed without a call from my husband. Today, we were supposed to visit him but we waited for a long period and then were told that we had no visit!

When the family members were denied visits, they decided to hold a short sit-in on the second day of Eid, October 16. They were surrounded by police forces and given no response:

It has been six hours and no one responded! Why then did you tell us that we had visits?

In one of the video clips uploaded from the sit-in, a young child chants [ar]: “The people want to free the prisoners!”

By 7pm, local time, they decided to leave:

The participants in the al-Terfeya [prison] sit-in have left. Some of them have been there for about 8 hours to meet their relatives, but they only found the heartlessness of the secret police.

On the following day, October 17, they decided to come back to demand another visit. They were told to go to the Governor's Office. Maha al-Dhuhayan tweeted:

This is the second day in a row in which we hold a sit-in to demand a call or a visit, with no progress. Now we are heading to the Governor Office. May God help us.

Reema al-Jourish, whose husband is also arbitrarily imprisoned, tweeted:

Just in: All young men have been arrested and all women have been lost. We don't know anything about the women. Their relatives have tried to call them without an answer.

Reports say that 15 children have been arrested:

Fifteen children are still detained (they are from al-Harbi, al-Ayaf and al-Duhayan families) when they were in their way to visit their fathers in the al-Terfeya prison.

Some other prisoners were denied the Eid visit since the beginning, like human rights activist Houd al-Aqel, who was arrested back in March:

The administration of al-Hayer Prison has denied us visiting Houd despise our continuous calls and demands.

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