Although the topic doesn’t get the media attention it deserves, it’s no secret that Saudi-led airstrikes frequently target non-military civilian areas such as funerals, hospitals, and agricultural land– with U.S. and U.K.-supplied weapons. But the violence doesn’t only come from the skies as a new report from Amnesty International shows that Saudi-backed forces on the ground are also terrorizing doctors, hospitals, and patients in the city of Ta’iz.
Doctors and staff stated that harassment and threats from the Saudi-backed coalition have been commonplace inside hospitals over at least the past six months. Pro-Hadi forces terrorize and intimidate hospital staff by forcing them at gun point to abandon treating Houthi fighters for life threatening injuries and instead treat Pro-Hadi Saudi-backed fighters for minor injuries such as broken legs. President Hadi currently lives in hiding in Saudi Arabia. The terrorism has prompted at least three hospitals to shut down. “According to eyewitnesses three armed men stormed an office at the hospital and threatened to kill medical staff if it was not shut down immediately. They also tried to drag the two surviving Huthi fighters – one of whom is a minor- out of the hospital’s intensive care and recovery units, but were prevented by medical staff. The third Huthi fighter had died while receiving treatment,” the report states describing an incident from last week.
Short-Lived Organization Closed Under Pressure in 2013
Saudi prosecutors filed criminal charges against two activists in late October 2016, for “forming an unlicensed organization” and other vague charges relating to a short-lived human rights organization they set up in 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. None of the alleged “crimes” listed in the charge sheet resemble recognizable criminal behavior, and none of them took place after October 2013.
The defendants, Mohammad al-Otaibi and Abdullah al-Attawi, formed the Union for Human Rights in 2013, but they were unable to obtain a license for the group because Saudi Arabia generally did not allow independent non-charity nongovernmental organizations at that time. In late 2015, Saudi Arabia issued a new law that would theoretically allow such groups to obtain licenses, but authorities have continued to jail and prosecute independent activists based on similar charges.
The UK has failed to check whether training it has provided to Saudi police has contributed to abuses including torture and the death penalty, new research by human rights organization Reprieve has revealed.
Since 2009, the British College of Policing has provided training to officers from the Saudi Ministry of the Interior, which oversees policing, prisons, and executions in the country. Human rights organization Reprieve has discovered that the College has carried out no checks that would establish whether human rights abuses, such as torture, have resulted from the training.
Iran’s no democratic paradise, but Washington’s Saudi allies are even worse.