Exclusive testimony of ‘Abu Khalid‘ from the CagePrisoners Saudi Torture Project.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious and Most Merciful.
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you. My name is Abu Khalid. I was residing in Saudi Arabia and I was arrested in 2007.
The arrest was a treachery against me, but I can’t explain it in detail here. After I was arrested I was put in a cell (a small solitary room) for three months and 18 days, I was all-alone, deprived of everything except food, I was badly ill-treated.
On the first day they put me in the cell around 2pm and gave me the prison uniform. They kept me sitting there and prevented me from watching TV, reading books, magazines and newspapers. They were calling my family and talking with any person who answered.
Around 8pm they took me in for interrogation; they put me on a chair in another room and in front of me there was a desk that had nothing on it. The interrogator came -whose name was Ghazi al-Sa’idi and Allah knows best – I was blindfolded, my hands were cuffed and my legs were chained.
He said, “Are you guilty?” I asked what my guilt was, he said, “Admit everything.” I replied, “What to admit?” He said “You must cooperate with us and tell us everything so we can help you and get you out of prison.”
I asked what do I have to cooperate for and what to admit? He didn’t reply and ordered the guard to take me back to the cell. While the soldier was driving me he said “You better think about it well and admit otherwise you shall see what you can’t bear”. I returned to my cell and kept thinking what do they want from me? Why did they arrest me? What have I done? But I had no answers for these questions.
The next day in interrogation they said, “Have you thought of admitting?” I asked what do I have to admit? He said, “You want to go to Iraq for jihad.”
I said – disapproving of what he said – I don’t want to go to Iraq for jihad, I know nothing in Iraq and I know no one in Iraq, how can I go there?
He retorted, “Go back to your cell and tomorrow you will tell us in detail how you wanted to go to Iraq otherwise you shall taste torture and beating.” The soldier took me back to the cell.
The next day they brought me and that person in the photo provided (Yusuf al-Barakaty) received me, he asked, taunting me, “Why did you want to go to Iraq?” I told him I didn’t want to go to Iraq. He asked me about some people, when he asked me that question I was sitting on the chair in front of the desk and he was sitting on the other side of the desk and when I said, “I don’t know”, he slapped me on my face so hard that I wished to die than see such a slap.
He beat me, “You donkey, you dog! You don’t want to admit, you want to misguide justice.” He called the guard and ordered him to tie my hands to a metal ring in the ceiling, that was nearly at 10am, I was standing like that till 10 pm and that was the order of Yusuf al-Barakaty. Honestly they only untied me at prayers and meals times, and that lasted for 14 days. He ordered that I remain in the cell until I admit to the allegations.
By the way, those who interrogated me were three, Yusuf al-Barakaty, Ghazi al-Sa’idi and the third -Allah knows best – was Bandar al-Hazmi. Of the three, those who beat me were Yusuf al-Barakaty and Ghazi al-Sa’idi.
What happened to me on the hands of those two (Yusuf al-Barakaty and Ghazi al-Sa’idi) is:
First: they ordered that I stay in the cell for over 3 months, they prevented me from talking to anyone even the guards, they deprived me of all means of communication including TV, newspapers and calling my family or lawyer.
Second: they ordered the guard – everyday for nearly two weeks – to take me to the interrogation room (where torture took place) and hang me from the ceiling from 10am to 10pm.
Third: they took turns beating me, one of them would come and lay me on the floor on my stomach and beat me with a hard plastic hose on my back, nape and legs and I would scream and ask him to have mercy on me and ask Allah to rescue me from him, but he had no mercy or pity on me; he did that three times or more per day.
When he beat me, my legs were shackled and due to the severity of beating on my legs and the shackles that bound me, blood was pouring from my legs, and when I return to my cell, I found my back bleeding and full of ulcerations.
He used to beat me with a plastic hose and stick, the stick broke on my back and while he did that, he screamed and beat me further.
Yusuf al-Barakaty specialised in slapping my face and hitting me on my thighs so hard, I begged him not to beat me and to have mercy on me but he didn’t care, he only beat harder.
Fourth: I always asked him to take me out of this cell because I was tired psychologically, I didn’t taste sleep because light was directed at my eyes 24 hours per day.
I thought a lot until I finally got psychologically ill with obsessive compulsive disorder, I tried to commit suicide many times but failed, and when they discovered the suicide attempts through the camera – they monitored me using cameras all day long – they tied me and beat me.
Fifth: Yusuf al-Barakaty used to threaten me and say, “I will take your nails off…I will iron your arms and legs”, and he threatened me with the electric shock stick and say, “You haven’t tasted this yet.”
Sixth: he always tried to destroy me psychologically, he used to say, “you will remain in prison for the rest of your life…you deserve to die…you are a danger to society…we will put you on trial and give you a death sentence”, I would return to my room and cry for hours, I would scream from the psychological pain that these words caused me.
I stayed in the Saudi investigation prison for 5 years. By Allah I was not put on trial nor stood in front of a judge, it was just the brutal interrogators and I was released after all those years without trial and they have not compensated me for the losses I suffered.
I ask the human rights community around the world to help me get my rights back, receive compensation for that period I spent unjustly and try all those who caused me harm, beat me, tortured me and kept me behind bars for such a long period of time. Finally to try that person in the photo, Yusuf al-Barakaty – and anyone who participated in that – for what he did of beating, torturing and imprisoning me.