Torture in Saudi Arabia: An Institutional...
Although Saudi Arabia has acceded to the Convention since 1997, torture is still a systematic practice carried out by official institutions. These agencies are directly linked to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, practicing torture without fear of censorship and punishment by relying on the highest political authority in the country.
Documenting the cases of torture in Saudi Arabia confirms that it is a widespread practice, and multiple security and judicial institutions participate in it, most of which belong to the King and the Crown Prince, most notably the Public Prosecution, which is directly related to the King, and the Presidency of State Security headed by his son bin Salman, which includes the General Investigations, Emergency Forces and Special Forces. Border guards/customs/from outside the border through sister countries.
The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights' monitoring shows that torture and ill-treatment are practiced in Saudi Arabia during all the stages the detainee goes through, from arrest to the investigation stage, and continues even after the issuance of the verdict.
The bodies that are responsible for arrest and detention practice torture at various levels. According to the monitoring of ESOHR, from the moment of arrest, the detainee is subjected to ill-treatment and torture, and often to excessive use of violence without justification, in addition to enforced disappearance in many cases.
In addition, ESOHR monitored the use of violence during the raids of the emergency forces and special forces, which have been affiliated with the Presidency of State Security since 2017, when violence and heavy weapons were used and families were intimidated. Information indicates that in various periods, especially after the popular movement in Qatif, raids were used on a large scale and in many cases without legal warrants or arrest warrants. In addition, according to the organization’s tracking, the security forces, which raid and break into homes on the pretext of pursuing wanted persons, arrest everyone who is in them, including women in some cases, without arrest warrants.
The ESOHR's documentation shows that individuals were subjected to torture during the investigation period. In some cases, torture aims to extract confessions, and in other cases, it aims at revenge and sometimes leads to death. The organization documented that individuals were subjected to various forms of torture during the investigation period. In addition, follow-ups confirmed that the detectives in Saudi Arabia run unofficial detention facilities called hotel or villa, where many women human rights defenders were subjected to torture during the investigation period. They used horrific methods, including electric shocks, sexual harassment, flogging, and waterboarding.
After the investigation phase ends, violations against detainees continue, as ESOHR monitored the referral of the Public Prosecution to cases of individuals from whom confessions were extracted under torture to the court.
The ESOHR's documentation confirms that judges in Saudi Arabia largely ignore allegations of torture and ill-treatment. The organization's follow-up of dozens of cases before the Specialized Criminal Court for Terrorism confirmed that judges refuse to investigate the detainees' assertion that they were forced to certify their statements. In some cases, the detaining judge threatens to re-interrogate him and thus re-expose him to torture if he does not agree to ratify the statements.
After the verdicts are issued, cases of violations and ill-treatment of male and female detainees continue. According to ESOHR mentoring, detainees are subjected to ill-treatment while serving their sentences in criminal and political prisons. In addition, human rights defenders suffer from ill-treatment and torture in prisons after their sentences.
In addition to violating its internal regulations that criminalize torture, Saudi Arabia is also violating the Convention against Torture. (Articles 11, 12, 14, 15)