Saudi authorities continue to detain three prisoners of conscience, despite them suffering from various cancers.
Their families demand their release, in order that they can access the needed treatment.
The three detainees are retired officer Zayed Al-Banawi, who has been detained since September 2017, and Dr. Muhammad Al-Khudari and Zuhair Kutbi, who have both been detained since April 2019.
Al-Banawi was arrested as part of the huge campaign of arrests launched by the regime against academics, journalists, and activists in late 2017, a few months after Mohammed bin Salman became Crown Prince.
The reasons for al-Banawi’s arrest were not announced, though he had previously been warned by Saudi authorities to remain quiet on relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He was also critical of the decision to boycott Qatar, which he argued would harm the Kingdom itself.
Kutbi was arrested on six separate occasions before his detention in 2019, after which he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and accused of “inciting sedition”, “inflaming public opinion” and “damaging the prestige of the ruler”. Kutbi has made frequent demands for a constitutional monarchy.
Kutbi was released from his previous bout of detention on 23 June 2017, after serving two years, paying a fine of 100,000 Saudi riyals, and being banned from writing for 15 years. He was charged with criticising former Saudi rulers.
Al-Khudari was arrested on charges relating to his support for the Palestinian struggle. Held in a detention center in Riyadh, Al-Khudari continues to be denied the health care needed to treat his prostate cancer.
In addition, whilst indetention Al-Khudari has lost the ability to move his right arm, much of his hearing, and suffers from serious dental problems.