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Amnesty International: Al-Khodari's health severely deteriorating

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud speaks during the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 1, 2019 [BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI KINGDOM COUNCIL / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]
Saudi Arabia's King Salmanin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Saudi Arabia on 1 June 2019 [Bandar Algaloud/Anadolu Agency]

Amnesty International has announced that the health of former Hamas representative in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr Mohammad Al-Khodari, who has been detained there since 4 April 2019, has deteriorated due to the lack of adequate healthcare.

The organisation reported that Al-Khodari, 83, partially lost the ability to move his right hand and is currently relying on his son, who is detained with him, to feed and help him.

In a report published this week, the organisation stated that the former Hamas representative in Riyadh had not received adequate medical assistance.

The report asserted that Al-Khodari and his son Hani were brought before the Specialised Criminal Court a year after their arrest: "In a collective trial that was marred by gross violations of legal procedures, including being denied access to a lawyer during this period."

READ: Amnesty urges Saudi king to provide Palestinian prisoners with medical care

Amnesty International added that Al-Khodari was undergoing cancer treatment when he was arrested on 4 April, 2019. Al-Khodari's fears over his health have increased with the spread of the coronavirus, combined with his age and the underlying medical conditions from which he is suffering.

The report indicated that the Abha prison, to which Al-Khodari and his son were transferred in November 2020, lacks the necessary medical staff and the standard healthcare facilities that the elderly prisoner requires.

The report stated: "Although [Al-Khodari] was allowed to obtain medical care in the prison, he was prevented from seeing specialists to assess the size of his tumour," noting that the last time Al-Khudari was checked by a specialist was three months ago in Dhahban prison.

On 8 March, 2020, the two men were charged before the Supreme Court with "joining a terrorist group," as part of a collective trial of 68 individuals accused of belonging to the Hamas movement. Al-Khodari was accused of holding several leadership positions within Hamas.

"Their trial was marred by numerous and serious violations of their rights in the due process, including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention and solitary confinement," the organisation added.

Amnesty International called on King Salman Bin Abdulaziz to ensure that these baseless charges against Mohammad Al-Khodari and Hani Al-Khodari are dropped, with their immediate release.

The organisation demanded the immediate hospitalisation of Al-Khudari so that he can obtain the urgent specialised medical care he needs, while calling on the concerned authorities to allow the Hamas leader and his son to communicate with lawyers.

Al-Khodari had undergone surgery two weeks before his arrest and was receiving radiotherapy. According to medical reports obtained by the detainee's family, it is necessary for him to take eight different medications on a regular basis.

READ: Gaza suffers $1.5bn losses from siege, covid this year

The organisation stressed that although the political prisoner was granted access to medical care in prison, Al-Khodari's family is concerned that he is not receiving adequate medical treatment.

The arrests of the aforementioned Palestinian citizens come as part of a wider crackdown launched by the Saudi authorities against Palestinian, Jordanian and Saudi citizens residing in the kingdom, believed to be linked to Hamas, according to Amnesty International.

The report concluded that Al-Khodari and his son were subjected to: "Gross human rights violations, including enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, incommunicado detention and solitary confinement. The two men were interrogated behind closed doors without the presence or participation of their lawyers, and their treatment and conditions of detention have caused them major stress and psychological pressure, especially Dr Mohammad Al-Khudari, as denying him access to adequate medical care led to worsening his health condition. These conducts violate the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment."

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Amnesty InternationalInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsPalestineSaudi Arabia
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