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Hamas, Islamic Jihad Slam Saudi Court Sentences Against 69 Palestinians, Jordanians
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (R) meets with Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh (L) in Tehran, Iran on August 06, 2021. (Iranian Presidency/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Slam Saudi Court Sentences Against 69 Palestinians, Jordanians

Analysts say convictions for supporting Hamas are part of kingdom’s power struggle with Iran

[Gaza City] Families of prisoners held in Saudi Arabia are calling on Riyadh to cancel their convictions and release them.

A Saudi criminal court on Sunday sentenced 69 Palestinian and Jordanian residents of the oil-rich kingdom to prison terms on charges of illegally collecting and transferring money to support Hamas.

A few defendants were acquitted and released.

A Saudi criminal court on Sunday sentenced 69 Palestinian and Jordanian residents of the oil-rich kingdom to prison terms on charges of illegally collecting and transferring money to support Hamas.

The sentences ranged from three to 22 years’ imprisonment and can be appealed after 40 days.

Families of the prisoners expressed shock at the court decision.

We are totally shocked and disappointed by the Saudi judgment as there is no legal basis or bona fide evidence for the allegations

Khudairi’s nephew Abdelrahman told The Media Line the sentence was unexpected and inhumane.

“We are totally shocked and disappointed by the Saudi judgment as there is no legal basis or bona fide evidence for the allegations. At the time my uncle was arrested, he had been retired from political work for nine years. This is absolutely unfair!” Abdelrahman said.

He continued, “On a humanitarian level, my uncle is 85 years old, a cancer patient, and has many health issues. We call upon the Saudi court to take this into consideration and to review the judgment to release my uncle and the other prisoners.”

Palestinian and Islamic parties released statements denouncing the Saudi court ruling.

Hamas said on Sunday: “Those [imprisoned] brothers did not commit anything that necessitated these harsh and unjustified sentences. … All they did was support their cause and the people to which they belong, without doing any harm to the kingdom and its people.”

The statement continued, “While we welcome the acquittals of some of the brothers, we deplore the harsh and undeserved sentences against the majority of them.”

Islamic Jihad, too, condemned the Saudi sentences, calling them “unjust and unjustified rulings that do not conform to the Sharia of Islam and the Arab values in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque and our oppressed people who are under the Zionist occupation.”

Probably the recent visit of [Hamas Political Bureau Chairman] Ismail Haniyeh to Iran … accelerated the pronouncement of judgment as a punishment for Hamas’ friendly attitude toward Iran

The court sessions for the verdicts began last week after they were previously scheduled for October. Political analyst Mohammed Hijazi said the new schedule was meant to send a sharp message to Hamas to watch its steps.

“Probably the recent visit of [Hamas Political Bureau Chairman] Ismail Haniyeh to Iran, the sworn political and religious enemy of Saudi Arabia, had provoked the latter and thus accelerated the pronouncement of judgment as a punishment for Hamas’ friendly attitude toward Iran,” he told The Media Line.

According to Hijazi, Saudi Arabia, which is making huge efforts to reduce the Iranian influence in the region, started with the arrests but will not stop there. “This is evident through its total reluctance to support the Palestinian cause due to considerations related to Hamas’ relationship with Iran.”

However, this is not the only factor behind the Saudi attitude, he said.

“The harsh Saudi sentences can be understood if we look at the root causes. There has been a long-running battle between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood movement [of which Hamas is a part]. Saudi Arabia and its ally the UAE were the key players that supported ending the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt” in 2013, Hijazi noted.

Mustafa al-Sawwaf, a Gaza-based analyst, believes that such sentences are political and express Saudi miscalculations and poor management “run by the existing political system which seeks to satisfy the Israeli occupation and the US.

“However, such a system will never be stable because the Arab nations and the Saudi people themselves reject judgments that have no legal basis,” Sawwaf told The Media Line.

“If those accused were truly [terrorists] as the Saudi court alleges, then the [two previous] Saudi kings, Fahd and Abdullah, should have been charged too for allowing them to raise donations and support the just Palestinian cause,” he argued.

Arab and Muslim actors are trying to persuade the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to reverse the court rulings, “because those who were sentenced had nothing to do with allegations,” Sawwaf said.

Give the Gift of Truth This Jewish New Year

The Media Line has been leading for more than twenty years in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. please help us with your generous contributions.
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