Bel Trew, Cairo
Saudi prison guards whipped Munir al-Adam, 23, so severely to force a confession that he is nearly blind and deaf. The Shia prisoner, who is on death row, had impaired hearing when he was arrested in 2012, aged 18, for protesting against the royal family.
He had been held in solitary confinement since June before being moved to Riyadh 11 days ago, where his death sentence was confirmed. His family say the torture was so harsh that he can no longer hear in his right ear. Being held for long stretches in the dark and then dragged in front of blinding lights has left him unable to see.
“When he first entered jail he had perfect eyesight. His hearing was a little impaired. But he was put in solitary confinement and tortured for three months and now he can’t hear or see properly,” his mother, Um Munir, 50, said. The family live in al-Awamiyah, a Shia village in the Qatif region of the kingdom. She said security personnel whipped her son’s feet, forced him to stand for long periods, deprived him of sleep, beat him with hoses and gave him electric shocks to extract a confession. “He could be executed at any moment. We live in constant fear,” she added.
Her son is one of 14 protesters from Saudi Arabia’s minority Shia Muslim community who are at “imminent risk” of execution, according to Reprieve, a London-based rights group.
The group, including two juvenile offenders, were arrested after protests in Qatif, where the majority of the population are Shia. Saudi Arabia says the protesters were backed by Iran and included armed elements. Their sentences are awaiting approval from the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, as his father, King Salman, is on holiday.
Photo: curtesy of family