Videos of women being beaten in shelter spark huge outcry

ABHA-Videos purportedly showing women of an orphanage being assaulted in Khamis Mushayt, in the southern Asir region, have sparked widespread outrage with many activists on social media denouncing the incident and asking the authorities for stern action against those involved in the incident.

Emir of Asir Prince Turki Bin Talal on Wednesday ordered the setting up of a committee to probe the beatings captured in the online video and refer the case to the competent authorities, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The emir also instructed that the investigation must include all parties involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, an official source at Saudi Public Prosecution said that its information crimes wing has started verifying the authenticity of the content of the circulating online video.

The source noted that its monitoring center checked the information content of the video clips that included a previous incident that happened at the orphanage. “The concerned Public Prosecution wing handled an earlier incident of destroying public money at the orphanage and the case is still under investigation,” the source said while emphasizing the inviolability of physically or morally harming the arrested persons, and prohibited humiliating treatment.

The source also stressed at the same time the need to preserve public money from felony. “The Public Prosecution is proceeding with its judicial procedures to protect the society and preserve public money, and continues its judicial role to take care of the guarantees that are entitled to the detainees,” the source added.

On its part, the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) said that it is following up on the issue with great concern and that it has formed a team to examine the incident.

The commission drew attention to the order of Asir emir to probe all aspects of the incident that took place at an orphanage for young women. The HRC confirmed that it is working, in partnership with the relevant authorities, to address all the issues involved in this incident.

In the video footage that went viral on social media, men hold down women in black abayas while other lash them with leather belts. It was not clear if the men were security officials or government employees.

Other clips showed men chasing women across the orphanage. It was not immediately clear what led to the incident or when it took place. The authenticity of the videos is also yet to be confirmed.

The videos shared by activists with the caption “storming of an orphanage in Khamis Mushayt for young women” became an instant hit on social media.(SG)

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