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Saudi slams "false" human rights allegations

Says Western organizations promote "another agenda"

A Saudi-based rights organization said it will release the first report on human rights by a Saudi-based institution in the wake of a report by London-based Amnesty International condemning capital punishment in the kingdom.

The Riyadh-based Saudi National Human Rights Association (NHRA) will issue the first report of its kind evaluating Saudi Arabia’s human rights situation, NHRA vice president Zeid Al Hussein said in a press conference.

Hussein lashed out at Western media for overlooking the history of the kingdom and the religious system it follows. Human rights violations that occur in Saudi Arabia are liable to happen anywhere in the world, said Hussein.

He accused Western organizations of having "another agenda" – which he did not specify -- and said their reports are not based on facts. He added that the kingdom's willingness to permit several international human rights organizations to inspect its record is a step forward that deserved appreciation.

The report will be presented to the International Council on Human Rights and will be evaluated by Qatar, Germany, and Madagascar in their capacity as international rapporteurs, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat reported Monday.

Hussein praised the position of women in Saudi Arabia and cited education and work opportunities as the best examples of women’s rights. Hussein linked the favorable treatment women get to the religious laws in the kingdom and pointed out that the kingdom has signed a treaty banning discrimination against women.

Last week a spokesman for the group rejected Amnesty’s report that criticized Saudi Arabia for excessive application of the death sentence through beheading by sword.

Dr. Zuhair al-Harithi said his country rejected the allegations.

"What international organizations fail to understand till now is that every country has its own penal codes and judiciary systems and these have to be respected," he said. "Laws derived from religious texts cannot be tampered with," Asharq al-Awsat reported last week following Amnesty’s report.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid.)