Exclusive testimony of ‘Abu Yasin‘ from the CagePrisoners Saudi Torture Project.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious and Most Merciful.
My name is Abu Yasin. I lived in Saudi Arabia in Madinah having valid official papers; I was arrested by Saudi Authorities in 2006.
People in four vehicles came to arrest me, they were all dressed unofficially, I didn’t know they were from the security service.
During my arrest I asked to see their identities – according to the norms – they said ‘later’, nobody told me why I was arrested or showed me his identity, I remember seeing some of them later in the interrogations.
While they were transferring me to the interrogation center I asked one of the soldiers what they wanted from me, he said, “We have some questions to ask you and you will return (home) after half an hour”, I didn’t know that I will stay with them for months and that this was the beginning of my suffering and deprivation of freedom and rights.
They threw me in a solitary cell, I was deprived of my simplest rights. They started interrogating me after leaving me there for 2 days, I was thinking of the reason of my arrest, I was not allowed to talk to prisoners in other cells.
When I asked them to allow me to call my family – who didn’t know what happened to me – the soldiers said,“You’re not allowed to make calls unless the interrogator permits”, and he never permitted that during all my imprisonment period.
Two days after being arrested without charge, I was taken to the interrogation block, blindfolded, my hands and feet were shackled. Five interrogators came in, I knew that from their voices, after some time they all left except one who removed the blindfolds and I saw him, he is the same person in the photo provided, I am not sure of his name because he didn’t introduce himself to me. Later on I learned that the names of interrogators are hidden from the prisoners in order to protect them from attributing crimes to them so they won’t be judged.
Since I and my fellow inmates – who were with me after 2 months of solitary confinement – didn’t know his name, we used to call him ‘the monkey’ due to the similarity between the two. That so called monkey was my main interrogator, others interrogated me too, one of them was the one who searched my house during the arrest, and others who were probably four, I didn’t know their names but I knew they were interrogators because other prisoners described them as such.
When I was shown the printed photo above I knew instantly and without thinking that this was my interrogator, and I bear witness that this person has tortured me a lot during interrogations.
Interrogations lasted more than 2 months, there was no particular time for it, sometimes at day sometimes at night, I was physically and psychologically tortured and here I mention some of what I have suffered:
1) The person in the photo slapped me with his hand so hard on many occasions.
2) The person in the photo used to kick me on my body so hard, I remember he came one day wearing a training suit and said, “I put that one to make it easier for me to beat you”, he normally wore the Saudi clothes (thawb).
3) The person in the photo used to beat me with a thick gray electric wire that was less than 1 metre in length, that wire is well known and it is used to deliver electricity to houses, he used to beat me with that wire while my hands and feet were shackled and sometimes my hands were tied to a high place that I cannot move. He beat me on my back while my hands were tied behind my back and my feet were also tied, he lashed me with all his power, he beat me so hard. That severe beating and lashing left marks on my hands and they became swollen, those marks would last for a whole month, I asked for a doctor due to the severity of pain and swelling of my hands, but nobody answered.
4) The interrogator mentioned above once threw a pen at my face and it was about to hit my eye and pierce it.
5) That interrogator in the photo used to make terrible threats to me such as: I will never get out of prison and I shall remain under torture forever. He brought other interrogators while he beat me and they threatened me saying, “you will stay in prison till your hair turns white…you won’t see your family till you die” and once one of the interrogators other than the one in the photo above threatened me that they will send me to Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. The interrogator in the photo above used to threaten me of using electric shocks and other things that I don’t remember.
6) That interrogator in the photo used to order soldiers to bring me to the interrogation room late at night, and I remained in that room waiting on my nerves for the interrogator to come and torture me at any time, after long hours the soldier comes and takes me back to my cell, that was a way of psychological torture, the effects of that psychological torture lasted for a long time even after I was released, and till now I feel afraid and unsafe even if I am among my family.
7) The living conditions in the prison were so hard, I didn’t have any clothes other than the ones I was wearing when I was arrested, I was not given any personal hygiene products for a month I couldn’t wash except after a month of my arrest, I was not given a pillow to sleep on, I used to put my head on my shoes so I could sleep, whenever I wanted to go to the bathroom to ease myself the soldier came late and I was not let in except after a long time, such things were the orders of the interrogators, no soldier can override the orders of the interrogators. I was deprived from making calls although I had requested that many times during my imprisonment period.
I remained in the prison for five months, I was not put on trial, I was not able to hire a lawyer, I was innocent and they offended me by taking away my freedom and torturing me.
In the end I wish that whoever reads this testimony strives for taking oppression off the oppressed ones in the Saudi interrogation prisons, pleads for them and helps put that interrogator mentioned above and anyone who offended me and other prisoners on trial.