November 23, 2018 / 1:19 PM / 2 years ago

Saudi Arabia says reports about torture by Amnesty, HRW are baseless

A folder with a logo of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia is pictured on a desk during the Universal Periodic Review of Saudi Arabia by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Friday dismissed as baseless reports about torture and sexual harassment published by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia categorically and strongly denies the allegations made by them. The wild claims made, quoting anonymous ‘testimonies’ or ‘informed sources’, are simply wrong,” the Ministry of Media said in a statement.

The rights groups accused Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of abusing several activists, including some female human rights defenders detained since May.

The May arrests followed an earlier crackdown on clerics, intellectuals, and activists last year in an apparent bid to silence potential opponents of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The torture allegations come with Saudi Arabia facing an international outcry over the killing last month of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Peter Graff

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