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Jailhouse rock: Video of Saudi prisoners dancing with guards for Eid goes viral

Saudi prison guards and officials prepare for the Eid feast [Twitter]

Date of publication: 11 June, 2019

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A video showing Saudi prison guards doing a traditional arada dance with inmates during the Eid festival has gone viral on social media.

A video of prison guards in Saudi Arabia dancing with inmates - who all appeared to be Saudis - has gone viral on Twitter and YouTube this week, despite the notorious reputation of the kingdom's detention facilities.

Footage shows prison guards in green uniforms dancing a traditional arada with prisoners in blue jilbabs at a Saudi jail on the first day of Eid al-Fitr. The video also showed food and carpets laid out for a hearty feast.

Websites said that the performance was part of the Saudi General Prisons' Directorate's efforts to "bring happiness and joy to the prisoners and rehabilitate and reform them so they can be productive members of society after they finish their sentences".

The fate of foreign and poorter prisoners in Saudi Arabia is generally perceived to be far less cushy, while political prisoners have effectively been disappeared by authorities.

The UN Human Rights Council also said that torture frequently occurs in Saudi Arabia, with "unacceptably wide and unacceptably vague" counter-terrorism laws being used to lock up human rights defenders, journalists, activists, and religious scholars.

Saudi women's rights activists have been subjected to "horrendous physical suffering" in prison, according to Amnesty International.

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