Saudi authorities said today that they will open an investigation into an incident at an orphanage hosting girls and women in the south-western Asir Province which has been widely shared on social media prompting outcry online.
A statement issued by the province’s authorities said a probe will be launched into the matter following an order by the governor of Asir, Prince Turki Bin Talal Al-Saud.
In the footage, which has since gone viral, Saudi security forces, including several wearing civilian uniforms can be seen chasing and attacking women with tasers, belts and sticks, after the girls and women began a hunger strike to protest against the living conditions at the orphanage, located in Khamis Muhait, sources said.
In one of the videos, a woman can be seen held down by three men to be arrested while another proceeds to beat her using his belt.
A hashtag campaign “Khamis Mushait orphans” to raise awareness and call for justice and accountability has also been launched by social media users and has been trending in the kingdom. Social media users decried the brutal response by the security forces while some reiterated the importance of being kind to orphans as stipulated in the Holy Quran.