Several activists imprisoned in Saudi Arabia since May, including a number of women who campaigned for the right to drive, have been beaten and tortured during interrogation, Amnesty International said Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia has detained at least 10 women and seven men on vague national security allegations related to their human rights work. Those detained include Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef, who had campaigned for the right to drive before the decades-long ban was lifted in June.
Amnesty said that according to three testimonies it obtained, some of the activists were repeatedly tortured by electrocution and flogging, leaving some unable to walk or stand properly. In one instance, an activist was hung from the ceiling. Another testimony said one of the detained women was subjected to sexual harassment by interrogators wearing face masks.
Some of the imprisoned activists were unable to walk or stand properly, had uncontrolled shaking of the hands and marks on their bodies. One of the activists reportedly attempted to take her own life repeatedly inside the prison, Amnesty said.
Al-Hathloul, an activist in her late 20s, was held in solitary confinement for around three months after her May arrest, a person close to her told The Associated Press.
She was forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia earlier this year from the United Arab Emirates, where she was pursuing a master's degree in Abu Dhabi. Her husband was pressured into divorcing her after he too was forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia from Jordan, where he was working, according to the individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions.