A Saudi court on Sunday handed down verdicts against 69 Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners of the Kingdom who were members or supporters of the Hamas movement, sentencing some with up to 22 years of jail time.
Khader al-Mashaikh, head of the Jordanian Detainees Committee in Saudi Arabia, said the sentences range from a minimum of 6 months to 22 years and that about 10 detainees were acquitted and some released for time served.
Saudi Arabia arrested these detainees in separate waves beginning in 2018.
Hamas leaders denounced the sentences as unfair and illegal, and said the prisoners were targeted simply for their association with Hamas. Hamas called on Saudi Arabia to release them ending “their suffering and the suffering of their families.”
“These brothers did not commit what necessitated these harsh and unjustified sentences, as well as trial,” Hamas said in a statement. “All they did was support their cause and the people to whom they belong, without any offense to the Kingdom and its people.”
Islamic Jihad, another terror movement in the Gaza Strip, condemned the sentences as well.
Riyadh has not commented on the verdicts.
Mohammed al-Khoudary – Hamas’ representative in Saudi Arabia – was sentenced to 15 years in prison and his son, Hani, was sentenced to three years, according to Anadolu agency. Khoudary, 82, had long been the contact between Hamas and the Kingdom until his arrest in 2019.
Amnesty International has said that the Khoudarys had not been not allowed access to a lawyer and called on the Saudi king to drop the “unfounded charges” against them.
Other human rights groups protested the arrests in the past. Michael Page, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Middle East director, said in a statement last year, that Saudi Arabia has a long record of unfair trials which “raises the specter that Jordanians and Palestinians will be railroaded on serious charges and face severe penalties even though some have alleged serious abuses.”