BEHIND the glitz and glamour of the one world’s richest countries is allegedly a horrifying web of brutality and oppression.
It is alleged many inmates who find themselves detained in the Saudi Arabia are subjected to inhumane conditions where they are whipped bloody, diseases run riot and children die.
The regime is attempting to take a seat at the table on the world stage, aggressively pushing a new image is a more moderate and modern state.
Buying up football club Newcastle United, hosting its first Formula 1 today, and hosting high profile boxing and wrestling events – the kingdom is driving forward under the auspices of Mohammad Bin Salman, known as MBS.
Human rights groups say that hidden beneath this ritzy and friendly exterior is a horrific underbelly – much of which can be seen in the country’s prison system.
It is believed that thousands of people have disappeared into the “black hole” of Saudi prisons without any indication of when they would be released.
Political prisoners and migrants are believed to suffer the worst of the treatment in the kingdom.
Torture allegedly includes electric shocks, beatings, sleep deprivation, being forced to sit in stress positions and being hung upside down.
Pictures and videos alleged from the country’s prison and detention system show packed cells, people sleeping on the floor like sardines and men who have had their backs whipped raw.
Amnesty International told The Sun Online they believe the country continues to torture and keep detainees in disgraceful conditions.
The group called on the Gulf kingdom’s authorities to “immediately and significantly improve detention conditions, end torture and other ill-treatment, and ensure detainees have access to adequate food, water, sanitation, health care, accommodation and clothes.”
Speaking to The Sun Online, Dana Ahmed a researcher for Amnesty International said: “We have documented serious human rights violations in the detention of migrants in prisons across Saudi Arabia – detainees, including children, lacked food, water, health care, sanitation facilities and clothes in overcrowded cells.
“In another case, women migrants were detained for up to 18 months without an end in sight to their ordeal.
“For many of the migrants, the anxiety of their prolonged detention is compounded by the fact that they have families at home who depended on the money they sent from their jobs in Saudi Arabia.”
An investigation published by Amnesty International last October reported a number of cases of torture of detainees.
Two prisoners reportedly were jolted with electric shocks after they complained about their living conditions.
Another man was allegedly whipped by the guards after they found a mobile phone on him.
Some of us are forced to go and sleep in the toilets with all of the nauseating smells, simply because there’s not enough space.
Human rights group ALQST also published a shocking report on conditions in Saudi prisoners back in July.
It detailed the “systematic” use of torture used on political prisoners and noted the “range of people targeted recently and the severity of torture methods used is unprecedented”.
Women’s rights activists have reportedly been beaten, subjected to torture and forced to perform sex acts on their interrogators, it claims.
And it is claimed during the protesters one of the high ranking Saudi officials would brag “I can do anything I like to you”.
ALQST notes many who die in custody while often see their remains never returned to their families – instead being buried in a prison graveyard without examination.
“The conditions in Saudi prisons are largely undocumented, and the state is highly secretive; this alone provides us with some indications about just how poor the conditions must be,” Radha Stirling, the founder of the human rights organisation Detained in Dubai told The Sun Online.
“Reports from individuals released from Saudi detention facilities reveal that there is chronic overcrowding, poor sanitation and hygiene, extremely limited access to healthcare, visitation and communication with the outside world — including legal representatives.
“But, even more disturbing, are reports that indicate torture is commonplace and abuse by both guards and inmates is rampant.
“It is deeply concerning that Saudi Arabia is allowed to defy human rights monitors seeking access to evaluate conditions and that the kingdom is able to run the facilities with no accountability or transparency.”
And in 2019, leaked documents that were prepared for the country’s ruler King Salman revealed that political prisoners were starved and beaten.
The reports provided the first documented evidence from within the kingdom of the abuse faced by prisoners.
The Guardian was told that the reports were to be given to King Salman and that the reviews had been ordered from the king himself.
One inmate was described in the report as suffering from “severe weight loss with continuous bloody vomiting” while another had “severe burns throughout the body.”
In 2019, a group of Saudi Arabian human rights activists are reported to have been tortured and sexually abused during their first three months of imprisonment.
Two activists claimed they were forced to kiss each other while interrogators watched and another had water forced into her mouth as she was shouting while being tortured.
And in September, horrifying pictures were uncovered of the cramped and inhumane conditions Ethiopian migrants were kept in at the al-Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah.
In a report by FRANCE 24, human rights activist Arafat Jibril Bakrii explained how migrants were locked up in overcrowded and dirty cells – some starved, mistreated and beaten.
Bakrii, who is in contact with some of the Ethiopians detained in Saudi prisons, said that prisoners were suffering from diarrhoea and infections caused by severely unhygienic conditions.
“There are more than 350 of us squeezed into one room,” one prisoner revealed.
“Some of us are forced to go and sleep in the toilets with all of the nauseating smells, simply because there’s not enough space.
“It’s really hot, and we get very little food, just one baguette a day, served in the evening.
“Lots of people are ill because of that, they’ve got diarrhoea and are feverish.”
The Ethiopian consulate in Saudi published a list of ten nationals were had died at the centre – including a six-year-old child.
Since the beginning of the year, Bakrii said that the conditions in the prisons have gotten considerably worse.
“A month ago, a woman who was detained in a women’s prison in Jeddah told me that one of her fellow prisoners died in front of her,” Bakrii, the president of the Oromo Human Rights Organisation said.
“She was extremely weak, but they didn’t know what she was suffering from.”
Saudi Arabia’s ministry for foreign affairs has been contacted for comment.