Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said he expects President-elect Joe Biden to address again the issue of human rights in Saudi Arabia, and what he considered Saudi Arabia’s support for a religious current that is “a pillar of global extremist movements.”
This came during activists holding a “counter summit” in order to try to shed light on the human rights record in the conservative kingdom, which is undergoing a massive social openness campaign, on the eve of the virtual meetings of the world’s richest countries.
Today, Saturday, the G20 summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia for the first time in the Arab world, began in a hypothetical mini-meeting overshadowed by efforts to combat the emerging corona virus and the stifling global economic crisis it caused.
“It is time for us to realize that Saudi Arabia is a very imperfect ally and that our priorities in this relationship have been wrong for a long time,” Murphy said.
Law and Sajna
The families of Saudi prisoners of conscience appealed to world leaders to address the issue of human rights in the Kingdom during its hosting of the G20 summit, considering that pressure on the Gulf state through its external image gate is the key to the release of their relatives.
“All of our relatives are in danger. They face the same dangers that Jamal Khashoggi lived on on a daily basis,” said Areej Al-Sadhan, sister of Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan, who has been detained in the kingdom since March 2018.
“Your voices will help preserve their lives,” she said, addressing the leaders participating in the summit.
Abd al-Rahman al-Sadhan was detained in an office in Riyadh affiliated with the Red Crescent Authority, where he was working after expressing opinions about human rights and social justice issues on an anonymous Twitter account, according to his sister.
Al-Sadhan, who lives in California, says she has faced threats from an obscure source since speaking about her brother, including warnings that she will be dumped “into the sewage system.”
One of the most prominent Saudis detained in the kingdom is Loujain Al-Hathloul, 31, a key figure who played a major role in the campaign to allow Saudi women to drive.
She was arrested in May 2018, weeks before the kingdom lifted its ban on women driving, on charges related to communicating with foreign parties, according to media close to the authorities.
Her sister Lina said that the prisoner has been on hunger strike since October 26, when her parents visited her and found her “very weak and desperate.”
She Lena living in Europe for years “should not underestimate strongly our voices,” she said, “even a single word to the question of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, saying their names and make sure not to forget, is in fact something that can lead to save them.”
Trump and Riyadh
US President Donald Trump established a strong relationship with the Saudi leadership, avoiding addressing human rights issues in these countries.
In his book “Anger,” the famous journalist Bob Woodward recounted that Trump told him in an interview in response to a question about the relationship of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Istanbul, “I saved him.”
On Saturday, Trump briefly participated in the G20 virtual summit and spoke about his “amazing work,” according to two participants spoken to by the French Press Agency, before withdrawing from the session and heading off to play golf.
Trump, who continues to refuse to accept his defeat in the presidential elections, began his speech shortly after the opening speech of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, whose country is organizing the summit via the Internet.
According to a participant who attended the closed talks, “his speech consisted in saying that he had done a very impressive job during his tenure on the economic front and in facing” the emerging corona virus that infected more than 12 million Americans, of whom about 260,000 died. The source emphasized that Trump “did not say a single word at the international level.”
According to the other source, Trump told state leaders and officials, “I have had the honor to work with you and look forward to working with you in the future and for a long time.” Once his speech ended, the US president withdrew, according to the two sources, and the Treasury secretary took his place.
Trump later left the White House for his golf club near Washington.