Saudi Arabia 'Tortured' Elite Prisoners To Seize Their Wealth: NYT

A Saudi general may have been tortured to death during the royal purge headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia

Just days after Saudi Arabia detained hundreds of influential figures on Nov. 5, in a high-profile anti-corruption crackdown, Middle East Eye, a UK-based online portal, claimed in an exclusive report "some senior figures detained... were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment."

Saudi authorities brushed off the allegations, while not providing any details of the purge or ensuing prosecutions.

Now, almost two months after the purge officially came to an end, The New York Times has released a report, echoing claims made by the MEE in November.

At least 17 detainees were subjected to physical abuse during the anti-corruption crackdown, spearheaded by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in order to extract their wealth for their freedom, the Times has found.

In fact, one prisoner, Major General al-Qahtani, an aide to the son of the late Saudi King Abdullah, may have been tortured to death in custody.

The report alleges al-Qahtani's “neck was twisted unnaturally as though it had been broken” and his body also had burn marks, which were believed to be a result of electric shocks.

Saudi Arabia's richest man, billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom's top international businessmen, was also rumored to have been tortured at the hands of his captors. But, upon his release, he featured in a video, explaining he didn't undergo any abuse.

Like other reports, the Times investigation has also been refuted by Riyadh, while maintaining that "the investigations, led by the Attorney General, were conducted in full accordance to Saudi laws. All those under investigation had full access to legal counsel in addition to medical care to address pre-existing, chronic conditions.”

All in all, at least 380 people were rounded up for questioning during the purge while 65 were held in custody at Riyadh's opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Also, Saudi Arabia raked in nearly $107 billion from the nearly three-month old crackdown, which continues to be shrouded in mystery as the Saudi government has not released any details of the high-profile arrests and ensuing settlements. 

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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