Geneva – The health condition of Palestinian detainee Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari has deteriorated as the authorities continue to deny him specialized medical care, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement expressing deep concern.
The family of the 84-year-old detainee told Euro-Med Monitor that the Abha prison administration denied him his cancer drugs and access to medical review, which led to a further deterioration in his condition that he has to use a catheter to urinate.
The prison administration is still denying Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari tumor medical injections, which he used to take every three months, under the pretext of lack of a recent medical prescription.
Since he was transferred from Dhahban prison to Abha prison in November 2020, Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari's health condition has not been reviewed by a doctor, as there is no proper medical care for an old detainee who suffers from many diseases, including cancer.
Similarly, his son, Dr. Hani Al-Khoudari, who is also detained in Saudi prisons, needs urgent medical treatment to remove kidney stones and a necessary review by a dentist.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari suffers from prostate cancer and has lost the ability to move his right arm due to the harsh sleeping conditions in his cell. He has lost half of his hearing and suffers from dental problems, urinary incontinence, herniated disc, pain in the abdomen and knee, and osteoporosis. He and his son also contracted COVID-19 in prison.
He and his son are still being held despite the expiration of the two sentences issued against them, under the pretext that the case was presented before the Court of Appeal and has not been referred to the Supreme Court for a final decision.
On 28 December, the Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal in Riyadh recommended reducing the sentence of Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari from 15 to six years in prison, with a half-term stay, thus ending his prison sentence on 28 February 2022. His son, Hani, is still being held despite the expiry of his sentence (three-year imprisonment).
The Saudi authorities arbitrarily arrested Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari and his son Dr. Hani Al-Khoudari on 4 April 2019, along with more than 60 Palestinians and Jordanians who were forcibly disappeared and kept in detention without charges until 8 March 2020. In a detailed report, Euro-Med Monitor documented that they have since been subjected to many other violations on accusations related to carrying out pro-Palestinian activities and for their association with one of the Palestinian factions within an official relationship with the former Saudi leadership.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari's family appealed to the court in 2021 to consider his illness and advanced age and release him. Although the request was approved in February 2022 by both the Specialized Criminal Court and State Security, the Saudi authorities did not release him.
Youssef Salem, legal researcher at Euro-Med Monitor, said that "depriving detainees of access to health care is a form of torture under Article 1 of the Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as it could endanger the life of the detainee and may amount to a form of slow killing."
The Saudi authorities should provide urgent and specialized health care to Dr. Mohammed Al-Khoudari and his son and release them unconditionally, especially since they have completed their sentences, not to mention the fact that their arrests themselves have been arbitrary and were politically charged.