Dhahban Central Prison

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Dhahban Central Prison
Dhahban Central Prison is located in Saudi Arabia
Dhahban Central Prison
Dhahban Central Prison
Coordinates21°51′09″N 39°07′57″E / 21.85250°N 39.13250°E / 21.85250; 39.13250Coordinates: 21°51′09″N 39°07′57″E / 21.85250°N 39.13250°E / 21.85250; 39.13250
Population3,000+ (as of 2015)
DirectorMani Al-Otaibi
CountrySaudi Arabia

Dhahban Central Prison (Arabic: سجن المباحث العامة بذهبان‎), also known as Dhahban Prison,[1] is a maximum security prison facility located near Dahaban, Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia.[2] It was built in 2015 as part of a renovation of the Jeddah Prisons infrastructure, at a cost of SR400 million.[3] It has capacity for 7,500 inmates.[3] When it opened, 3,000 inmates were transferred in from Braiman Prison.[3] In 2015, the regional director for prisons Mani Al-Otaibi said it was the most advanced prison in Saudi Arabia, with state of the art surveillance technologies.[3]

The facility is used to hold high profile political prisoners, as well as members of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.[4] It holds male and female prisoners,[5] as well as some small children of female prisoners.[6] It has been alleged that the female inmates have been tortured.[7] Detained female activists were electrocuted and flogged repeatedly, according to Amnesty International,[8] and Human Rights Watch.[9][10] An anonymous Saudi official denied that torture was condoned by the state.[11] Saudi Arabia claims that inmates get "top treatment".[12]

The Badawi siblings are currently being held in this prison; with the Government of Canada demanding their release, and subsequently the Saudi Arabian Government expelled the Ambassador of Canada to Saudi Arabia and recalled the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Canada, along with diplomatic staff and Saudi Arabian students in Canada. Some of which have sought asylum as a result of this.

Allegations of torture[edit]

Several Saudi Arabian activists, including women have been reported to be detained in the Dhahban Prison without any charges since May 2018. The activists have been repeatedly tortured by electrocution and flogging, leaving many of them unable to walk or even stand properly. According to the three testimonies obtained by Amnesty International, one of the activists was forced to hang from the ceiling. Another woman was subjected to repeated sexual harassment by interrogators, who wore masks over their faces.[8] Despite the evidence presented by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia’s media ministry has denied all such allegations.[13]

Post denial, on 28 November, another case of a fourth woman being tortured inside the prison was reported by Human Rights Watch. As per the report, Saudi authorities tortured the activist with electric shocks, tied her down to a steel bed and whipped her, while also being sexually harassed.[13]

Notable inmates[edit]

Aziza al-Yousef

In November 2018, prominent inmates detained in Dhahban Central Prison included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Ben, Hubbard (2019-03-17). "It Wasn't Just Khashoggi: A Saudi Prince's Brutal Drive to Crush Dissent". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2019. The women were later moved to the Dhahban Prison in Jidda, where the physical abuse stopped and their relatives were allowed to visit, Ms. al-Hathloul said.
  2. ^ "Pregnant US-Saudi Arwa Baghdadi to Give Birth in Jeddah Prison". International Business Times.
  3. ^ a b c d Alawi, Ibrahim (16 December 2015). "New prison facility opens at Dhahban". Saudi Gazette. Jeddah: Saudi Gazette. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b Aldrich, Mark (18 April 2016). "Inside Raif Badawi's Prison Cell". Goshen, US.: The Gad About Town. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. ^ Al-Ghamdi, Fawz (24 April 2018). "Female inmates in Dhahban prison encouraged to hone their skills". Saudi Gazette. Jeddah. Okaz. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  6. ^ Al-Ghamdi, Fawz (24 April 2018). "Female inmates in Dhahban prison encouraged to hone their skills". www.msn.com. Saudi Gazette. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Saudi Arabia 'tortured women activists'". BBC News. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Saudi Arabia: Reports of torture and sexual harassment of detained activists". www.amnesty.org. Amnesty International. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Detained Women Reported Tortured". hrw.org. Human Rights Watch. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  10. ^ Sabah, Zaid; Nereim, Vivian (20 November 2018). "Saudi Prison Officials Tortured Detained Activists, Groups Say". www.bloomberg.com. Bloomberg News. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  11. ^ Fahim, Kareem (20 November 2018). "Jailed Saudi women's rights activists said to face electric shocks, beatings and other abuse". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Terrorism prisoners get 'top treatment'". Arab News. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia: Allow Access to Detained Women Activists". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  14. ^ Javier El-Hage; Celine Assaf Boustani (12 July 2016). "Waleed Abulkhair sits in a Saudi jail for speaking out". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Saudi Arabia: Saudi Activist held in Solitary Confinement: Nassima al-Sada". 20 February 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  16. ^ Brother of Saudi women’s rights activist ‘being tortured in prison’ fears her treatment is getting worse, Maya Oppenheim, 22 February 2019, The Independent