Despite Saudis being preoccupied with “the Shahar scandal”, Dr. Hamed al Manee, the Kingdom’s Minister of Health delayed publicizing the findings of the investigation. A government probe was launched after accusations that patients were abused and their privacy infringed upon at the Shahar hospital in Taif.
He was expected to speak about the inquiry into alleged ill practices at a launch of the international day for mental health on Tuesday. Sources told Asharq al Awsat earlier in the week that the fall-out from the scandal would involve other government authorities and an announcement would be made at a later date.
On Sunday, the Minister indicated that the Kingdom intended to establish more than 10 hospitals for mental health and well-being, across the country, the expense of which was already accounted for in this year’s budget.
This move was in response to the increase of psychological pressure and problems that Saudi citizens were facing, al Manee said.
The publication of pictures showing patients naked whilst being washed at the Shakar caused a national outcry with many saying that the pictures reminded them of the images of Iraqi prisoners being tortured by US soldiers in Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
At the time, the families of patients’ demanded the government put an end to the abuse and hold an inquiry to protect the rights of their loved ones and punish those responsible.