Saudi intel chief was detained, tortured by Saudi government: Report

2021-07-01 20:40:28
Saudi intel chief was detained, tortured by Saudi government: Report

Former Saudi interior minister and intelligence chief Mohammed bin Nayef, who was detained by the Saudi government in 2020, was physically abused to the point he is unable to walk unassisted, two sources familiar with the matter allege.

Nayef, 61, was arrested in March 2020 by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as the de facto Saudi leader, also known as MBS, moved to consolidate power and sideline rivals.

Although Nayef had warm ties with Washington and was a close partner of American intelligence agencies, US officials did not come to his aid after his arrest and torture.

He was initially detained by the Saudi government during then President Donald Trump’s administration.

"The Trump White House did nothing — absolutely nothing — to help him," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer now with the Brookings Institution.

It's unclear whether the Biden administration has intervened behind the scenes, but the conditions of bin Nayef's detention have improved recently, sources told NBC News.

Two people familiar with his situation, who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions for bin Nayef, say he has lost more than 50 pounds (22 kg) and can no longer walk unaided.

He suffered serious injuries to his feet from beatings, the two sources allege, adding that pain medication for previous injuries was withheld.

"[He] is not allowed outside and is confined to his own area," one of the sources said. "During the course of the day, he does not see anyone and has not been allowed access to his personal doctor or legal representatives."

King Salman, the 85-year-old ruler of Saudi Arabia, came to power in January 2015 and appointed his nephew bin Nayef as crown prince and heir to the throne. But two years later bin Nayef was deposed as crown prince and replaced by MBS, the king's 35-year-old son.

As MBS strengthened his grip on power he began to move aggressively against potential rivals within Saudi Arabia. In November 2017, Saudi security forces arrested dozens of princes and prominent business figures and imprisoned them inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Some were tortured during detention.


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