Prisoner B: “Three prisoners raped me the other night. At night, they took me to a cell, like this one; they covered my mouth. When I told the guards, they [the guards] beat me, and sent the others to ward 17. But they put me in solitary confinement for seven days! All I had was a blanket…. When I was in the other wing, where the guys fight all the time, I got into a fight. The guards came and beat us all. They made us lie down and beat us; they broke sticks on our backs.”
Prisoner C: “When they gave me my [judicially imposed] lashes, it was actually very light. They use a stick but they hit very lightly. The lashes are not the problem; it’s the beatings. They hit us with cables, wires, usually on the back, sometimes in the face, any time they think we’ve done something wrong, or looked at them the wrong way.” Saudi Arabia retains judicially imposed corporal punishment.
Prisoner D: “They hang us from outside the cell and beat us. They once hit me with a billiard stick; I didn’t even know where they got that from.”
Prisoner E: “We all have cell phones, but sometimes they search us and then the beat us like dogs, or throw us into the hajuz [punishment cell]. There, you get no blanket. About two weeks ago, the prison director personally beat inmates in wing 17.”
Prisoner F: The prison authorities “emptied three of these cells and took the prisoners to another facility in this complex.… During Ramadan, in the middle of the afternoon, the guards randomly punished us by beating us. When there is any rowdiness or a fight they don’t ask questions, they just choose some people and beat them with electric rods and whips and electric cable.”
Prisoner G: “Last month, a prisoner had an argument with a guard. The guard brought everyone from the wing outside and beat them. In wing 16, a prisoner was beaten in the eye causing internal bleeding. He was moved to this wing. The new director [name withheld] doesn’t understand anything but beatings. [Name withheld] was the best director. He treated us like his children. He was on the side of the prisoners.” The two guards, [names withheld] are sexually abusive. [Three names withheld] are the most physically abusive guards.”
Prisoner H: “There is no recreation or exercise. If a prisoner complains about anything he is beaten. They also hang us by handcuffs with our feet suspended, or take our blankets. Yesterday I was lashed four times and I still don’t know why. I was beaten with a cable. There doesn’t have to be a reason. We are prevented from talking together, even inside the cells. They watch us from outside. If they see you talking they will take you out immediately and beat you. Here in the ward they may suspend you for a day or two. I was hung [by the wrists] for ten hours.”
Several prisoners reported to Human Rights Watch that the guards frequently engaged in collective punishment. A few weeks prior to our visit an inmate reportedly hit a prison guard and all of the inmates were taken out into the yard and beaten with truncheons and flogged.
The resident physician at the prison told Human Rights Watch that “the guards beat the [prisoners]. When that happens, I report it to the officer on duty. It happens only to a few, not many.”
Deaths from Alleged Mistreatment or Poor Medical Care
Jurayan al-Mutair died in al-Ha’ir on October 27, 2006 (4/10/1427) because he was given the wrong medicine, his brother told Human Rights Watch.
In mid 2006, Ma’naz (or Abd al-`Aziz) al-Dusari died on his second day in the hajuz of al-Ha’ir, possibly from injuries sustained in a beating. One prisoner said, ”The [guards] beat him then sent him to the hospital and claimed he died a natural death. He had been in solitary confinement. Al-Dusari was my friend. He was in wing 16 then in solitary. We don’t know what he died from but we know he was severely beaten before he went to the hospital. One Yemeni prisoner who went to clean the room saw him on the floor with insects all over his face.”
Prisoners listed beating as the cause for the suspicious death of [Abdullah or Muhammad or Sultan] al-Harithi, some of whom said they heard him being beaten, and whose death was reported in Jazira newspaper.
A Bangladeshi prisoner also reportedly died from an untreated tooth infection in 2006.
In Buraiman prison in Jeddah, a prisoner told Human Rights Watch that “four persons died in front of my eyes of sickness. One Danish person, one Nigerian – they were both friends -- and two Egyptians. They did not have AIDS – those are kept elsewhere. They died because they weren’t taken to hospital. I cried for them, they were my friends. “
Another prisoner at of Buraiman prison, confirmed some of these deaths and added others. He told Human Rights Watch: “Six month ago, a man from Denmark died from a heart attack from a blood clot in his leg. He was 65-years old and had heart problems. An Egyptian, Shaikh Sayiid, and two Nigerians died two months ago and a Somali man died, and one Ethiopian died right behind me, all from tuberculosis.”
Two detainees confirmed that in Jeddah’s deportation center, a Bangladeshi man died on March 15, 2007, apparently from the consequences of a hunger strike against his deportation he had begun 25 days earlier. Another former detainee at the deportation center told Human Rights Watch that “One Indonesian child died last week in the deportation center in Jeddah from lack of milk and of severe cold from the air conditioning. The mother does have money to buy blanket or milk but they wouldn’t give it to her.