Human Rights Watch accused Saudi police on Wednesday of setting fire to a hiding place of Yemeni illegal migrants, 18 of whom suffered serious burns.
The New York-based watchdog charged that police had set fire on March 9 to a garbage dump in which 25 undocumented Yemenis were hiding, in an apparent bid to force them out.
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“Claims that the police deliberately burned the shelter of Yemeni migrants are shocking and show total disregard for human life,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East director, said in a statement.
HRW said the Saudi government has claimed it had rescued the Yemeni victims from an accidental fire, suggesting that the victims’ allegations are not credible because they are merely undocumented garbage pickers.
Burn victim Majid Shami told HRW that police officers launched a flammable substance that started a fire which engulfed the hiding migrants in the dump.