Some senior figures detained in last Saturday’s purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, Middle East Eye can reveal.
People inside the royal court also told MEE that the scale of the crackdown, which has brought new arrests each day, is much bigger than Saudi authorities have admitted, with more than 500 people detained and double that number questioned.
Members of the royal family, government ministers and business tycoons were caught up in the sudden wave of arrests orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, under the banner of an anti-corruption drive, David Hearst reported in a n article published by MEE on Sunday.
Some, but not all, of the top figures arrested were singled out for the most brutal treatment, suffering wounds to the body sustained by classic torture methods. There are no wounds to their faces, so they will show no physical signs of their ordeal when they next appear in public.
Some detainees were tortured to reveal details of their bank accounts. MEE however, says it is unable to report specific details about the abuse they suffered in order to protect the anonymity of its sources.
The purge, which follows an earlier roundup of Muslim clerics, writers, economists and public figures, is creating panic in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, particularly among those associated with the old regime of King Abdullah, who died in 2015, with power then passing to his half-brother, King Salman.
The report said that on Wednesday night, seven princes were released from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, where they had been held since Saturday. The top royals have been moved to the king’s palace, sources told MEE.
Among those arrested is Reem, the daughter of Al-Waleed bin Talal, the only woman to be targeted in the latest roundup, MEE added.
To prevent others from fleeing, MBS has ordered a freeze on private bank accounts. The number of account closures and those banned from travel is many times the number of people who have been arrested, sources in Riyadh told MEE.
No one expected a crackdown of this scale and against princes of such seniority in the House of Saud, which is why so many of those detained were caught red-handed and had no time to flee, according to the report.
The purge against other members of the royal family is unprecedented in the kingdom’s modern history. Family unity, which guaranteed the stability of the state since its foundation, has been shattered.
Source: Middle East Eye