PFIF Condemns Saudi Escalation of Solitary Confinement against Detainees


PARIS – Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms (PFIF) is deeply concerned about the escalation of solitary confinement by the Saudi authorities against prisoners of conscience in its prisons as a violation of international law and human rights instruments.

PFIF said it had received a complaint from the family of Saudi academic Mohammed Fahad Al-Qahtani, a Saudi economist and political activist who has been subjected to solitary confinement for several days.

Al-Qahtani is one of the founding members of an Association for Civil and Political Rights in Saudi Arabia. He was sentenced on 9 March 2013 to 10 years in prison and 10 years of travel ban without any legal support.

The Institute for Freedoms calls on the Saudi authorities to stop its shameful actions against the opponents and to end the phenomenon of solitary confinement, humiliating treatment, medical negligence and physical and psychological torture.

It confirmed that solitary confinement of detainees in Saudi prisons is illegal and contravenes international human rights law, which prohibits the use of solitary confinement as a form of torture.

It illustrated that the policy of prolonged isolation aims to humiliate and physically and psychologically exhaust the detainee and falls within the context of the deliberate cruelty, disregard for dignity and human rights by the Saudi authorities.

International law prohibits the use of solitary confinement, even if it is a disciplinary measure only as a last resort, but the Saudi authorities use it as a “shocking” additional punishment for political opinion and human rights activists brutally to crush their humanity and abolish any hope of aspiration of a better future.

What is happening with the prisoners of conscience in Saudi prisons shows complete disregard for human rights through imposing of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement, causing psychological suffering to detainees already punished by prison sentences, mostly due to their political positions and expression of opinion, which are dealt with by the Saudi authorities.

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