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Rights Groups Want Outside Monitors to Speak with Saudi Arabia Detainees

Two human rights groups — Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International — are urging Saudi Arabia to allow international monitors into the kingdom to investigate allegations from detained human rights activists who say they have been tortured.

"The Saudi Arabian authorities have repeatedly proven themselves unwilling to effectively protect detainees from torture or to carry out impartial investigations into claims of torture in custody," said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's Middle East research director. "That is why we are calling on Saudi Arabia to give independent monitoring bodies immediate and unfettered access to the detained activists."

"Saudi Arabia's internal investigations have little chance of getting at the truth of the treatment of detainees," according to Michael Page, HRW deputy Middle East director.

Both organizations expressed concern, particularly for 10 rights activists. Amnesty said the rights defenders have been "tortured, sexually abused, and subjected to other forms of ill-treatment during their first three months of detention, when they were held in an informal detention facility in an unknown location."

Saudi Arabia's rights record has come under international scrutiny following the killing in October of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

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