Tuesday 26 May 2020 
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Amnesty International calls on Saudi monarch to release senior Hamas official, his son

Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia's King Salman to order the immediate release of a high-ranking official of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas and his son, citing his poor health condition amid the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus.

According to Press TV, Amnesty said in a letter to the Saudi monarch released on Saturday “Given the current COVID-19 pandemic and Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari’s poor health, I urge you to secure his release without delay. I also call on you to ensure these unfounded charges against Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari and Dr. Hani al-Khudari are dropped and that they are released.”

The human rights group further noted that 81-year-old Dr. Khudari and his son were brought before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in the capital Riyadh on March 8 as part of a mass trial of 68 individuals on trumped-up charges under the so-called counter-terror law. 

“Amnesty International has found that trials before the SCC have failed to adhere to international fair trial standards and that every stage of proceedings involving this court have been characterized by human rights abuses,” it pointed out.

“There is serious concern for his health as he was detained while he was being treated for cancer. This concern has been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the particular threat it poses to older prisoners and those with underlying medical conditions,” Amnesty International said.

Dr. Khudari and his son Hani were arbitrarily arrested on April 4, 2019 and remained in detention without charges until March 8 this year. Both men were forcibly disappeared for one month after their arrest, and held incommunicado and in solitary confinement for the next two months of their detention.

A month into the senior Hamas official’s detention, his wife received a phone call from authorities in the maximum security Dhahban Prison near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah requesting his medical records. Two weeks prior to his arrest, Dr. Khudari had undergone surgery.

Dr. Khudari is currently being held in al-Hai’r Prison in Riyadh, while his son is detained in Dhahban Prison. Their next court session is scheduled for May 5. 

Khudari has been living in Saudi Arabia for over 30 years, and represented Hamas between mid-1990s and 2003 in Saudi Arabia. 

His son is also a university professor and has no political affiliation.

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