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Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 12 Palestinian father and son arbitrarily detained Palestinian men face unfair trial
FI 172/19-1
Saudi Arabia
Abgeschlossen am 15. Mai 2020

Palestinian men face unfair trial

AI-Index: MDE 23/2090/2020

On 8 March 2020, 81-year-old Palestinian national Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari and his son Dr. Hani al-Khudari (48 years old) were brought before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), Saudi Arabia’s counter-terror court, in a mass trial on trumped-up charges under the counter-terror law. They have no legal representation. Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari requires adequate medical attention and treatment for cancer.


According to information received by Amnesty International, 68 Palestinian, Jordanian and Saudi nationals were divided in several groups at the opening of the mass trial on 8 March 2020. All family members and some legal representatives of the 68 individuals were not allowed into the court session.

Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari is a Palestinian national and a retired doctor and politician, who has been residing in Saudi Arabia for approximately 30 years. Dr. al-Khudari was the official representative in Saudi Arabia of the Hamas de facto authority in Gaza and responsible of coordinating relations between the Hamas de facto authority in Gaza and the government of Saudi Arabia. He resigned from his position and has been inactive for the past 10 years due to his illness.

Dr. Hani al-Khudari is a Palestinian national with no political affiliation. He completed his Ph.D. in computer science and is currently a professor at Um al-Qura University, where he was arrested.

Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari and Dr. Hani al-Khudari have been subjected to gross human rights violations including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, being held incommunicado and solitary confinement. Furthermore, both men were interrogated behind closed doors without the presence or participation of their lawyers. Their treatment and conditions of detention placed a great deal of stress and psychological pressure on both men, especially Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari who was reportedly heard crying in his cell every night. The denial of access to adequate medical care has caused further deterioration of the health of Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari, who received a diagnosis while in detention that his cancer had spread. Such conduct violates the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.

Two weeks prior to his arrest, Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari underwent surgery and was being treated, including through radiotherapy, for his cancer. According to the medical reports shared by his family, when discharged from the hospital his treatment required that he regularly take eight different medications. Although he has been allowed access to medical care in jail, the family is concerned that Dr. Mohammed al-Khudari is not getting the adequate medical treatment. The arrests of the two Palestinian nationals is part of a wider crackdown by the Saudi Arabian authorities on Palestinian, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian nationals residing in Saudi Arabia with a perceived link to Hamas de facto authorities. Since February 2019, the Saudi authorities have detained 68 individuals visiting or residing in Saudi Arabia, including students, academics, and businessmen.

Amnesty International has documented the Saudi Arabian authorities’ use of the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) since 2011 to systematically silence dissent, concluding that SCC judges have presided over grossly unfair trials, handing down prison sentences of up to 30 years and numerous death sentences under vague provisions of the counter-terror and anti-cybercrime laws.

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