Yesterday, Tuesday 4 January, the Saudi Court of Appeal finished considering a number of verdicts issued last August against sixty Palestinian and Jordanian detainees.
The Court of Appeal, in the country’s capital, Riyadh, considered a number of previous judgments. Some detainees’ sentences were reduced by one-half, others by one-third.
Amongst the decisions was a reduction of Palestinian academic Muhammad al-Khudari’s prison sentence from 15 years to six years (three of them suspended). Since al-Khudari has already spent over six years in detention, he is likely to be released over the coming weeks.
Several of the appeal court’s judgments involved people who had already been acquitted. Judgments ranged from the court upholding previous sentences, to a reduction of detainees’ custody time. Four defendants were acquitted.
The Saudi Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia is expected to ratify the appeal court’s rulings.
In February 2020, Saudi authorities launched a campaign of arrests that saw more than 60 Jordanians and Palestinians residing in the gulf state charged with “providing financial support to the Palestinian resistance”. Their group trial was marked by numerous, serious abuses of the legal process.
Amongst the detainees is 83-year-old Dr. Muhammad al-Khudari, who was arbitrarily arrested by the Saudi authorities along with his son, Dr. Hani al-Khudari, on 4 April 2019.
Whilst detained in a Riyadh prison, al-Khudari has been denied healthcare, as required due to his suffering prostate cancer. Prison authorities have blocked al-Khudari from seeing a specialised doctor for over a year, which, coupled with generally poor conditions in the prison, had led to his health deteriorating, with symptoms including a loss of movement in his right arm, partial loss of hearing, serious dental pain, and osteoporosis.