Somalia: 700 Somalis in Saudi Jails face dire conditions

Published: February 5, 2016

Somalia: 700 Somalis in Saudi Jails face dire conditionsAbout 700 Somalis are being held in dire conditions at prisons in Saudi Arabia, according to one of the detainees.
The prisoners said they lack sufficient food, water and medical treatment, after being arrested for living in the gulf country illegally.
Among the 700 detained are 400 women and children.
‘’Most of them are in a very serious and dire condition requesting for help as soon as possible. The jail guards are mistreating us so badly,’’ said Ahmed Mohamed, one of the detainees speaking to the VOA Somali Service through phone.
One of the detainees, a Somali boy, died due to a lack of medical care.
He added that they have been without access to legal or diplomatic representation. With the conditions in the jail worsening, he called on Somalia’s Federal government intervention.
‘’We urge our government and authorities to obtain our release as soon as possible. We want to leave this country.’’
Facing limited job prospects and harsh economic realities back home, large numbers of Somali men and women head to the oil- and gas-rich Arabian Peninsula every year seeking work.
After reaching the gulf country, many face physical and mental abuse, menial pay, discrimination and poor working conditions.
Since January 2014, more than 12,000 Somalis have also been deported. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Somalis were prevented from filing for refugee status, even though they were deported to war-torn Somalia. Earlier this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that Somali refugees still needed international protection and called on all host countries to stop forcibly repatriating Somalis.
Recently, Somalia’s Federal government reached an agreement with the Saudi officials to send 1500 maids to the Kingdom, a deal heavily criticized by Somalis.
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