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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                    

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Allegations of torture by police and prison officials are common, and access to prisoners by independent human rights and legal organizations is extremely limited. In March 2019, international media published leaked prison medical records indicating that a number of political prisoners were suffering from cuts, bruises, burns, and malnutrition. Human rights groups had reported in late 2018 that detained women’s rights activists were given electric shocks, whipped, beaten, sexually abused, and threatened with rape.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Description: Description: SaudiArabia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Saudi Arabia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Saudi Arabia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 5 August 2021]


In early March authorities reportedly detained four senior princes: Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, King Salman’s full brother; his son, Prince Nayef bin Ahmed, a former head of army intelligence; Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, former crown prince and interior minister; and his younger brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef. The detentions were not announced by the government, but Reuters reported that the princes were accused of “conducting contacts with foreign powers to carry out a coup d’etat.” The Wall Street Journal reported that at the same time, security forces detained dozens of Interior Ministry officials, senior army officers, and others suspected of supporting the alleged coup attempt. In August lawyers representing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said they were increasingly concerned about his well-being, alleging that his whereabouts remained unknown five months after he was detained and stating that he had not been allowed visits by his personal doctor. Prince Nawaf’s lawyers stated he was released in August, but there were no updates on the other three as of year’s end.


Human rights organizations, the United Nations, and independent third parties noted numerous reports of torture and mistreatment of detainees by law enforcement officers. ALQST alleged that authorities continued to use torture in prisons and interrogation rooms. Amnesty International assessed in a February statement that one of the most striking failings of the SCC in trials was “its unquestioning reliance on torture-tainted ‘confessions.’” It alleged at least 20 Shia men tried by the SCC have been sentenced to death on the basis of confessions obtained by torture since 2016, with 17 of them already executed. Former detainees in facilities run by the Mabahith alleged that abuse included beatings, sleep deprivation, and long periods of solitary confinement for nonviolent detainees.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 15 May 2020]


Allegations of torture by police and prison officials are common, and access to prisoners by independent human rights and legal organizations is extremely limited. In March 2019, international media published leaked prison medical records indicating that a number of political prisoners were suffering from cuts, bruises, burns, and malnutrition. Human rights groups had reported in late 2018 that detained women’s rights activists were given electric shocks, whipped, beaten, sexually abused, and threatened with rape. The family of one of them, Loujain al-Hathloul, said she had been offered freedom if she publicly recanted her allegations of torture, which she refused to do.

Corporal punishment, most often lashing, is common in criminal sentencing. Capital punishment is applied to a wide range of crimes other than murder, including drug and protest-related offenses; juvenile offenders are not exempt from the penalty. Use of the death penalty has increased in recent years. According to the British human rights group Reprieve, Saudi Arabia executed at least 184 people in 2019, compared with 149 in 2018.

An unprecedented leak from Saudi Arabia exposes torture of dissidents

Maya Kosoff, Columbia Journalism Review CJR,  3 April 2019

[accessed 20 May 2019]

New leaked medical reports from Saudi Arabia confirm that political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, especially women, have been severely mistreated, despite denials of torture from the Saudi government. Notes from the medical reports, which were prepared for King Salman and leaked to The Guardian, detail records of malnutrition, wounds, bruising, burns, and cuts on political prisoners; in one case, a female prisoner lost half of her body weight. The Committee to Protect Journalists notes that four prisoners among those named in the report are journalists: Zuhair Kutbi, Hatoon al-Fassi,Fahd al-Sunaidi, and Adel Benaimah.

The medical reports, which The Guardian reports will be given to King Salman with recommendations to possibly pardon all the prisoners, or at least those who have serious health issues, come after claims that some female activists who have been jailed have been subjected to lashings and electric shocks while in custody. They represent the first documented evidence from inside the kingdom that political prisoners face severe physical abuse. While the government officially and consistently denies allegations of mistreatment and torture, the leaked medical reports paint another picture entirely.

Victims of Saudi Arabia mass execution 'made false confessions under torture' say reports

Reporters, The Telegraph, 26 April 2019

[accessed 12 May 2019]

Victims of a mass execution in Saudi Arabia were made to give false confessions obtained under torture, according to media reports.

Documents from the Awamiya case reveal how the men repeatedly told the court that their admissions were false and had been obtained through torture. In some cases, the suspects said they had provided nothing more than their thumbprints to sign off on confessions which they claimed had been written by their torturers.

“Those aren’t my words,” said one of the accused, Munir al-Adam, during the trial, according to the documents. “I didn’t write a letter. This is defamation written by the interrogator with his own hand.”

The 27-year-old, who was partially blind and deaf, was named as one of the men executed.

Another prisoner, Hussein Mohammed al-Musallam, told the court that he suffered from multiple injuries, including a broken nose, collarbone and leg.

“Nothing in these confessions is correct and I cannot prove that I was forced to do it,” said Musallam.

The Execution of Mujtaba al-Sweikat

Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, 2 May 2019

[accessed 8 May 2019]

"He was subjected to psychological and physical abuse, which drained his strength," his father reportedly said. "The interrogator dictated the confession to Sweikat and forced him to sign it so that the torture would stop. He signed it."

United Nations human rights officials had previously written to Saudi officials regarding al-Sweikat’s case, using an alternative spelling of his name. In November 2016, they wrote in regard to information they had received that he “was routinely subjected to torture including suspension from his hands and feet, sleep deprivation, severe beatings with cables and shoes, cigarettes burns and pouring of cold water on his body during winter. He was put in solitary confinement for three months. As a result, Mr. Suwaiket suffers from a broken shoulder, sustained pain in back and knees and blood deficiency due to insufficient nutrition. He has been deprived of any medical care. Mr. Suwaiket was reportedly subjected to acts of torture until he confessed to armed disobedience against the king and to attacking, shooting and injuring security forces, civilians and passers-by … On 1 June 2016, after several hearings, Mr. Suwaiket was convicted and sentenced to death by the [Specialized Criminal Court], on the sole basis of the confession extracted under torture.”

Deposed aide to Saudi crown prince accused of role in female activists' torture

Reuters, 7 December 2018

[accessed 8 December 2018]

Deposed aide to Saudi crown prince accused of role in female activists' torture

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said last month at least three of the activists - most of whom had agitated for the right to drive and an end to a male guardianship system - were tortured. They did not report Qahtani's involvement.

The sources, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, told Reuters that Qahtani was in the room on several occasions when one of the four detained activists was subjected to kissing, groping and electrocution. He made threats of rape and murder to the woman, the sources said.

At least two other detainees endured sexual insults, flogging and electric shocks that turned one of the women's fingers blue, the sources said. Captors also made another woman kiss a male detainee while they watched, one of the sources said.

Report reveals Saudi detainees were subjected to torture and blackmail

Middle East Monitor MEMO, 5 November 2018

[accessed 6 November 2018]

According to the NBC report, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has information about the Ritz detainees being subjected to various kinds of abuse, torture and extortion. Sleep deprivation alone, it is alleged, led to the hospitalisation of 17 detainees. Indeed, claimed the network, Major General Ali Bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, one of the most prominent figures during the reign of late King Abdullah, died under torture after his arrest.

One Canadian businessman has claimed that he spoke to well-known Saudi businessman Al-Waleed Bin Talal during his detention. Alain Bender said that Bin Talal was held in a room like a cell and had a difficult and uncomfortable time in detention. Bender is said to have spoken to Bin Talal via a video call. He added that a former court adviser confided to him that Bin Talal’s jailers “slapped some detainees and hung them upside down.” An earlier report by Reuters said that the same royal adviser, Saud Al-Qahtani, supervised the torture of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri during his detention in Riyadh last year.

More Insulting Lies From Saudi Arabia

Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist, New York Times, 19 October 2018

[accessed 21 October 2018]

The Saudi government on Friday issued a statement claiming that Jamal was killed when a fistfight went bad in its consulate in Istanbul. Really? This is a fistfight to which the Saudi goons reportedly brought a bone saw so that they could dismember him afterward; by some accounts, they began the dismemberment while he was still alive.

It’s also grotesque for the Saudi authorities to claim that a journalist whose fingers they reportedly amputated as part of their torture somehow managed to engage in a fistfight. Jamal had no fists left.

Report Points to Mass Torture in UAE-Run Prisons in South Yemen

Financial Tribune, 14 August 2018

[accessed 15 August 2018]

[accessed 15 August 2018]

The report—which was provided by Yemeni military figures who worked with the Saudi-UAE coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi forces—described scenes of sexual abuse by Emirati army personnel and their Yemeni surrogates.

Individuals endured rape at the hands of coalition forces and were subjected to electrocution in the genitals, chest and armpits. Some detainees were hung in midair while being insulted and beaten, the report said.

Electric cables were used alongside wooden bats and steel poles during the interrogation sessions.

In some instances, the detainees are described as having been deprived of sleep and confined to narrow spaces with poor hygienic conditions and limited air ventilation.

For some, this was accompanied by sessions where their skins were lashed with whips and their wounds were subsequently covered in salt. Others had industrial nails inserted into their finger and toenails.

The report alleged more than 49 people died as a result of the torture and five gravesites were used to bury the deceased.

The account confirms a report by the Associated Press published in June over alleged acts of torture perpetrated by members of the Saudi-UAE coalition in a network of at least 18 secret prisons.

Saudi Arabia using anti-terror laws to detain and torture political dissidents, UN says

Olivia Alabaster, The Independent, 7 June 2018

[accessed 7 June 2018]

The report also stated that Mr Emmerson received “well-documented reports of the use of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials against individuals accused of having committed acts of terrorism".

Those methods of torture included electric shocks, sleep deprivation, incommunicado and prolonged solitary detention, and beatings to the head, face, jaw and feet.”

UN report: All parties in Yemen committed torture

Middle East Monitor, 15 February 2018

[accessed 16 February 2018]

The 329-page report which was submitted to the Security Council on 26 January was made public yesterday. In it the publication a panel of Yemen experts concluded: “The Government of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Houthi-Saleh forces have all engaged in arbitrary arrests and detentions, carried out enforced disappearances and committed torture.”

Investigations in to 12 cases of detention by the United Arab Emirates in Burayqah, at the Al Rayyan airport led the experts to conclude that the UAE were responsible for torture, including imprisonment in metal cages, ill treatment, enforced disappearance of detainees and denial of due process.

The report confirmed the use of “starvation” as a weapon against the Yemenis by the Saudi-led coalition, which violated international law. But the blame was put on all sides of the conflict, which have violated international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

US private security firm hired to torture Saudi billionaires, princes, including Bin Talal

Daily Sabah > World > MidEast, 23 November 2017

[accessed 23 November 2017]

Saudi officials hired American private security contractors from the United Arab Emirates to interrogate and torture princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in a purge earlier in November, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.   According to the online report, which cited a Saudi source, the interrogations conducted by the "American mercenaries" included beating, torturing, insulting of more than dozens of Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen.

The source said the Crown Prince is conducting some of the interrogations by himself, treating the detained people "nicely."   "Then he leaves the room, and the mercenaries go in. The prisoners are slapped, insulted, hung up, tortured."

Saudi torture victims include former king's son

David Hearst, Middle East Eye, 17 November 2017

[accessed 18 November 2017]

All six princes were admitted to hospital in the 24 hours following their arrest. One of the men was in such a bad condition that he was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit - treatment which occurs when there is a high risk to the life of a patient, such as organ failure, from the heart, lungs, kidneys, or high blood pressure.

Hospital staff were told that the injuries sustained in each case were the result of "suicide attempts". All had been severely beaten, but none of them had fractures. The marks on their bodies were consistent with the imprints left by military boots.

At least 17 of those detained were taken to hospital, but the number maltreated in the purge ordered by the current Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is certainly higher, according to sources who MEE is unable to identify because of concerns for their safety.

IHEU: “call it what it is — Saudi Arabia’s flogging of Raif Badawi is barbarity and torture, plain and simple”

International Humanist and Ethical Union, 9 Jan 2015

[accessed 24 March 2015]

It is reported that officials have carried out the first 50 lashes of a 1000-lashes sentence against Saudi liberal, Raif Badawi. The charges related to his running of a Liberal Saudi website, focused on advocating greater religious freedom, which was deemed “insulting to Islam” and a threat to the state.

The order papers indicated that the lashings should be “severe”. Witnesses said that despite the severity of the beating today, Raif Badawi “did not flinch; he held the victory symbol and [a] guard had to hold his hand down“.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


CRIMINAL JUSTICE - Detainees, including children, commonly face systematic violations of due process and fair trial rights, including arbitrary arrest and torture and ill-treatment in detention. Saudi judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes.

In the absence of a written penal code or narrowly-worded regulations, however, judges and prosecutors can criminalize a wide range of offenses under broad, catch-all charges such as “breaking allegiance with the ruler” or “trying to distort the reputation of the kingdom.”

Authorities do not always inform suspects of the crime with which they are charged, or allow them access to supporting evidence, even after trial sessions have begun in some cases. Authorities generally do not allow lawyers to assist suspects during interrogation and often impede them from examining witnesses and presenting evidence at trial. Authorities continued to arrest and hold suspects for months and sometimes years without judicial review or prosecution. On May 15, an Interior Ministry database showed that criminal justice officials were holding 293 individuals whose pretrial detention exceeded six months without having referred their cases to the judiciary. At least 31 people had been detained “under investigation” for more than six months.

Torture case trio await ruling

Belfast Telegraph, 12 January 2014

[accessed 12 Jan 2014]

Ronald Jones, Alexander Mitchell, William Sampson and Leslie Walker claim they were subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation and anal rape as well as being given mind-altering drugs following their arrest in 2000 in Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh.

'Torture' punishment: Saudi sentence man to be paralyzed

Russia Today - RT News Network, 4 April 2013

[accessed 5 April 2013]

A Saudi Arabian court has allegedly ordered a man to be paralyzed for stabbing his friend 10 years ago. The defendant’s family will have to pay out $266,000 or have their son face a sentence decried as “torture” by Amnesty International.

Twenty-four-year-old Ali al-Khawaher stabbed his friend in the back when he was 14, putting the victim in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Islamic Sharia law, which is enforced in Saudi Arabia, allows for ‘eye-for-an-eye’ punishment in such cases, or monetary compensation for the victim.

Torture in Saudi prisons shows Al Saud’s savagery: Iran MP

Press TV, 25 Jan  2013

[accessed 26 January 2013]

[accessed 30 August 2016]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – “Al Saud security forces send thousands of Yemenis, who are only guilty of illegal entry into Saudi Arabia for finding a job, to ghastly prisons without mentioning any reason for the arrest,” Hadi Shoushtari said on Friday.

Reports say a large number of Yemenis are detained in Saudi Arabia prisons. In October 2012, an 18-year-old Yemeni youth died of severe torture by jail officers in a prison of the Saudi intelligence agency.

Al Saud even treats with “utter brutality” the criminals who have rights in the civilized world today and this is a sign of extreme savagery, the Iranian lawmaker said.

Saudi Arabia: Save Convicts from Amputation

Human Rights Watch, Beirut, December 16, 2011

[accessed 26 January 2013]

After Unfair Trials, Court Sentences Six to Lose Hands, Feet

The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia should void a sentence to amputate the hands and feet of six stateless people convicted of armed robbery, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Saudi Human Rights Commission. The sentence constitutes internationally prohibited torture.

Judge Abd al-‘Aziz Al al-Shaikh of Riyadh’s General Court tried ‘Iyada and his co-defendants in only two court sessions, each lasting less than one hour, and prohibited them from appointing lawyers to assist them in their defense, ‘Iyada told Human Rights Watch. ‘Iyada’s family-appointed lawyer prepared his written appeal, but was not allowed to meet with his client, attend court sessions, or see documents except for the public verdict.

‘Iyada told Human Rights Watch that four officials of Riyadh’s criminal investigation department tortured him over the course of 10 days after his arrest in mid-October 2010, to force him to confess.

“They beat me with their hands, electrical cables, and sticks all over my body, for hours on end, every day,” ‘Iyada said.

A judge authenticated ‘Iyada’s confession even though ‘Iyada stood before him with marks of torture visible on his face, ‘Iyada said. Judge Al al-Shaikh convicted the defendants despite noting in the verdict that they had withdrawn their confessions on the grounds that they had been coerced. No investigation into allegations of torture has taken place, to Human Rights Watch’s knowledge.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CR/28/5 (2002)

[accessed 5 March 2013]

C. Subjects of concern

4. The Committee is concerned as to the following aspects:

a) While noting the State party's indication that the Shari'a law expressly prohibits torture, and other cruel and inhuman treatment, the State party's domestic law itself does not explicitly reflect this prohibition, nor does it impose criminal sanctions. The Committee considers that express incorporation in the State party's domestic law of the crime of torture, as defined in article 1 of the Convention, is necessary to signal the cardinal importance of this prohibition.

b) The sentencing to, and imposition of, corporal punishments by judicial and administrative authorities, including, in particular, flogging and amputation of limbs, that are not in conformity with the Convention.

c) The different regimes applicable, in law and in practice, to nationals and foreigners in relation to their legal rights to be free from, and their ability to complain of, conduct in violation of the Convention. The Committee recalls that the Convention and its protections are applicable to all acts in violation of the Convention which occur within its jurisdiction, from which it follows that all persons are entitled, in equal measure and without discrimination, to the rights contained therein.

d) Allegations of prolonged pre-trial detention of some individuals beyond the statutory limits prescribed by law, which heightens the risk of, and may on occasion of itself constitute, conduct in violation of the Convention. In this connection, the Committee expresses its concern at instances of denial, at times for extended periods, of consular access to detained foreigners. Moreover, the Committee is concerned at the low degree of judicial supervision of pre-trial detention.

e) Reports of detention incommunicado of detained persons, at times for extended periods, particularly during pre-trial investigations. The lack of access to external legal advice and medical assistance, as well as to family members, increases the likelihood that conduct violating the Convention will not be appropriately pursued and punished.

f) The requirement of article 100 of the statute of the Directorate of Public Security for an investigating officer to endeavour "by judicious means" to ascertain the reasons for an individual's silence. While the article in question formally proscribes resort to torture or coercion, such a requirement unjustifiably heightens the risk of conduct in violation of the Convention.

g) Cases of deportation of foreigners that have been drawn to the Committee's attention that seem to have been in breach of the obligations imposed by article 3 of the Convention.

h) The jurisdiction of the Mutawe'en officials to pursue, inter alia, violations of the moral code and to proscribe conduct they identify as not conducive to public morality and safety. The Committee is concerned that the powers of these officials are vaguely defined by law, and that their activities may violate the Convention.

i) The apparent failure of the State party to provide effective mechanisms to investigate complaints of breaches of the Convention.

j) While noting the State party's institution of mechanisms for the purpose of providing compensation for conduct in violation of the Convention, as a practical matter, compensation appears to be rarely obtained, and accordingly full enjoyment of the rights guaranteed by the Convention is limited.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees and sentenced prisoners were reported to be common, widespread and generally committed with impunity. Reported methods included beating, suspension by the limbs and sleep deprivation. Those tortured reportedly included detained protesters, who were held incommunicado for days or weeks without charge or trial.

Detainees held at al-Hair prison reportedly told their families in August that they were assaulted by prison guards and feared for their lives.


The courts continued to impose sentences of flogging as a principal or additional punishment for many offences. At least five defendants were sentenced to flogging of 1,000 to 2,500 lashes. Flogging was carried out in prisons.


The courts continued to impose death sentences for a range of drugs and other offences. Several hundred prisoners were believed to be on death row; some for many years. At least 79 prisoners were executed, mostly in public. They included at least 52 Saudi Arabians and at least 27 foreign nationals, including at least one woman. Some prisoners were executed for non-violent offences.


Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 26 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

In 2001, the Council of Ministers approved a penal code that bans torture. However, allegations of torture by police and prison officials are common, and access to prisoners by independent human rights and legal organizations is strictly limited. In October 2008, the Ministry of the Interior announced that it would begin trials for hundreds of suspects arrested on charges of terrorism since 2003. Although the ministry originally planned to make the proceedings public, the authorities decided to keep the trials closed.

The Committee to Prevent Vice and Promote Virtue, a semiautonomous religious police force commonly known as the mutawa’een, enforces a strict policy of segregation between men and women and often harasses women, using physical punishment to ensure that women meet conservative standards of dress in public. In 2007, a court sentenced a Shiite woman from Qatif, who had been gang raped by seven men, to 200 lashes and six months in jail for being alone with a man who was not her relative at the time of the attack; the man was also raped by the attackers and punished by the court. The rapists were sentenced to flogging and jail terms ranging from two to nine years. After an international outcry, the king pardoned the two victims in December of that year.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 26 January 2013]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The Basic Law prohibits torture and Shari'a prohibits judges from accepting confessions obtained under duress; however, authorities abused both citizens and foreigners. Ministry of Interior (MOI) officials were responsible for most incidents of abuse of prisoners, including beatings, whippings, and sleep deprivation. In addition, there were allegations of beatings with sticks and suspension from bars by handcuffs. There were allegations that these practices were used to force confessions from prisoners.

During the year the religious police (Mutawwa'in) harassed, abused, and detained citizens and foreigners of both sexes. These incidents were most common in the central region, including the capital, Riyadh, and less frequent in the eastern and western regions of the country.

The government sentenced criminals to punishment according to its interpretation of Shari'a. Corporal punishments provided by law included public execution by beheading, amputation, lashing, and other measures deemed appropriate by the judicial authorities, including potentially as eye-gouging.

By year's end, the press reported approximately 86 executions. Executions were for killings, narcotics-related offenses, rape, and armed robbery. The authorities punished repeated thievery and other repeated offenses by amputation of the right hand and left foot. The government also punished convicted persons by lashing, According to press reports, lashes were generally administered with a thin reed by a man who must hold a book under his arm to prevent him from lifting the arm too high. The strokes, delivered through a thin shirt, are not supposed to leave permanent damage, but to leave painful welts that bleed and bruise. Persons convicted of less serious offenses, such as alcohol-related offenses or being alone in the company of an unrelated person of the opposite sex sometimes were punished by lashing.

According to January 6 press reports, two young citizens, Barjis bin Faleh and Abdulrahman bin Haif, were sentenced to prison terms (12 years and 1,200 lashes and 2 years and 200 lashes) for orchestrating, filming with a camera phone and distributing a video on the Internet of a foreign driver sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl. The driver was sentenced to 2 years and 600 lashes. The press reported on January 24 that a 12-year-old Bangladeshi boy was arrested for pickpocketing pilgrims and lashed 80 times after conviction by an ad hoc court in Mina.

After arrest at a private party in Jeddah on March 10, more than one hundred men were convicted and sentenced after closed trials for "dancing and behaving like women." More than 70 men were sentenced to one year's imprisonment. Thirty one men received sentences ranging from six months to one year and 200 lashes for each. Four men were sentenced to two year's imprisonment and two thousand lashes each, according to the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

On November 14, a court in Qassim Province ordered 750 lashes, as well as a prison sentence of 40 months and a ban from teaching for Muhammad al-Harbi, a high school chemistry teacher, reportedly after accusations of "trying to sow doubt in a student's creed" by speaking positively about his views on Christianity, Judaism, and analyzing the causes of terrorism (see sections 1.e. and 2.a.). There was domestic as well as international media attention to the case and the sentences were not carried out because the king pardoned al-Harbi in December.

At year's end the case Puthan Veettil 'Abdul Latif Noushad, an Indian citizen was still under review under review in the appeals court in Riyadh. In 2003 the greater Shari'a Court of Dammam sentenced him to have his right eye gouged out in punishment for his role in a fight which injured a Saudi citizen. Noushad was sentenced to prison for three years

Following a December 16, 2004 political demonstration, 15 demonstrators were sentenced to between 100 and 250 lashes.

The government reserved its position on Article 20 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Committee against Torture to investigate allegations of systematic torture.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Saudi Arabia",, [accessed <date>]