Saudi Arabia has tortured a dual Saudi-American citizen kept in detention for around two years now, a leading US daily has revealed.
The dual citizen, Walid Fitaihi, is a Harvard-trained physician and motivational speaker and was detained in November 2017 along with around 200 other prominent Saudis during what Riyadh has attempted to portray as an “anti-corruption” drive. He has not been handed any public charges or given a chance to stand trial.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Fitaihi was subjected to horrific torture.
Citing a friend of Fitaihi’s, who was not named, the daily said the 54-year-old was interrogated under torture.
“Dr. Fitaihi told the friend he was slapped, blindfolded, stripped to his underwear, and bound to a chair,” the Times wrote.
In at least one instance, he was shocked with electricity for about an hour, it said.
His tormentors also whipped his back so severely that he could not sleep on it for days, the friend said.
The associate said Fitaihi was questioned primarily about a relative who had also been detained — namely Adel Fakeih.
“Dr. Fitaihi believed his interrogators were seeking evidence against Mr. Fakeih,” the friend was quoted as saying. Fakeih was a former top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has ordered the detentions.
Fitaihi remains in detention, and it is unclear whether the torturing has stopped.
Also in November 2017, the Middle East Eye (MEE) news portal citedsources inside the Saudi court as saying that a number of the high-profile figures had sustained serious injuries under beatings and other instances of torture. According to the report, several of those subjected to physical abuse were taken to hospital with torture injuries. There were, however, no wounds to their faces so they would look normal when they later appeared in public, it added.
The Times report said, “A military officer who had been detained died with a twisted neck and other signs of abuse on his body, according to a person who saw it.”
Mohammed was named heir to the throne in early 2017, when his father, King Salman, ousted former crown prince Mohammad bin Nayef.
Ever since, the kingdom has been embroiled in a number of unprecedented controversies, including the killing of Saudi dissident and Mohammed’s critic Jamal Khashoggi. He was murdered and dismembered after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October.