New information surrounding the mysterious death of Saudi military officer, Ali bin Abdullah Al-Jarash Al-Qahtani, who was arrested on corruption charges, reveal that the royal brigadier died from a broken neck and torture.
Saudi officials loyal to Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman claimed that Al-Qahtani’s untimely death, the only one to have been reported during the corruption crackdown, was the result of a sudden stroke. They dismissed accusations that he had been tortured.
According to a report by the New York Times, witnesses who saw the corpse of the officer said that his neck was twisted unnaturally as though it had been broken, and that his body was badly bruised and swollen. His skin showed other signs of physical abuse.
The death of Al-Qahtani was one of several examples of torture reported in the New York Times report as part of their investigation into the corruption crackdown authorised by Bin Salman. Officials questioned by the paper under strict conditions of anonymity revealed that a doctor and two other people briefed on the condition of the body of Al-Qahtani reported that it had burn marks that appeared to be from electric shocks.
Saudi officials approached by the Times over the allegation said: “All allegations of abuse and torture of those investigated during the anti-corruption proceedings are absolutely untrue.”
The Kingdom has never publicly provided an explanation of the general’s death, the newspaper pointed out, while reporting that as many as 17 detainees required medical treatment for abuse by their captors during last December’s crackdown.
Relatives of the captives said that some of the detainees were deprived of sleep, roughed up and interrogated with their heads covered while the government pressured them to sign over large assets.
While evidence of such abuse has been slow to emerge, Western governmental officials are said to be confident of the credibility of these reports.