TEHRAN – Some senior figures detained in last Saturday's purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, according to a report.
People inside the royal court also told Middle East Eye that the scale of the crackdown, which has brought new arrests each day, is much bigger than Saudi authorities have admitted, with more than 500 people detained and double that number questioned.
Members of the royal family, government ministers and business tycoons were caught up in the sudden wave of arrests orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, under the banner of an anti-corruption drive.
Some, but not all, of the top figures arrested were singled out for the most brutal treatment, suffering wounds to the body sustained by classic torture methods. There are no wounds to their faces, so they will show no physical signs of their ordeal when they next appear in public.
Some detainees were tortured to reveal details of their bank accounts. The source is unable to report specific details about the abuse they suffered in order to protect the anonymity of its sources.
The purge, which follows an earlier roundup of Muslim clerics, writers, economists and public figures, is creating panic in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, particularly among those associated with the old regime of King Abdullah, who died in 2015, with power then passing to his half-brother, King Salman .
Many fear the primary purpose of the crackdown is a move by MBS to knock out all rivals both inside and outside the House of Saud before he replaces his 81-year-old father.
On Wednesday night, seven princes were released from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, where they had been held since Saturday. The top royals have been moved to the king’s palace, according to the source.
The crown prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who continues be under house arrest, has had his assets frozen, media report said. Sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz have also been arrested and had their assets frozen.