Saudi Arabia: New Details of Dissident Princes’ Abductions

Local Editor

New details emerged about the abductions of three dissident Saudi princes in what appears to be a systematic state-run government program to kidnap defectors and dissidents.

Saudi Princes

The three, all members of the Saudi regime before they became involved in peaceful political activities against the government in Riyadh, were kidnapped and taken against their will to Saudi Arabia between September 2015 and February 2016.

The most senior of the princes, Prince Sultan bin Turki, was kidnapped by the Saudis on 1 February 2016 together with about 20 members of his entourage, many from western countries.

In a documentary published recently by BBC Arabic, two westerners in the prince’s entourage describe the moment they realized the plane they were travelling on was not landing in Cairo as planned, but had instead been diverted to Riyadh.

The westerners describe Prince Sultan screaming and fighting with the Saudi flight attendants, who produced concealed weapons in order to subdue him and control the other passengers as the plane touched down.

They said when the plane landed it was immediately surrounded by dozens of cars and military vehicles, as well as heavily armed Saudi soldiers and police. The prince was dragged kicking and screaming from the plane into an unmarked car, shouting to his entourage that they were all being kidnapped and that they should alert their embassies. The prince has not been seen in public since.

The rest of his entourage, which included a number of young female westerners, were then held for three days in Saudi Arabia.

First, all their electronic devices and passports were confiscated. Then they were escorted to a Riyadh hotel by Saudi soldiers, among whom were several of the flight attendants from the plane now wearing Saudi military uniforms and armed with machine guns.

Under constant armed guard, without their passports and, in the case of the women, without the proper attire to go outside, there was no way they could leave.

Their phones and electronic devices were later returned with all pictures and evidence of their kidnapping wiped – except one picture that had been missed.

Interior of the plane Prince Sultan was travelling on, taken by a member of his entourage. Saudi authorities deleted all other pictures of the plane.

On the third day the westerners were marched one by one into a room at the hotel by heavily armed Saudi soldiers where a Saudi military officer apologized for the inconvenience before making them sign documents in Arabic which they did not understand.

Their kidnappers then asked them where they wanted to travel. Later they were brought one by one to the airport, walked through security and on to a plane minutes before takeoff and then had their passports returned.

The documentary also presents new evidence about the previous alleged kidnap of Prince Sultan in 2003, including a medical record from King Faisal hospital in Riyadh.

The medical report indicates the prince was aspirated and intubated in Geneva before being put on a medevac plane to Saudi Arabia, which is consistent with the prince’s claim that he was traumatically injected on the side of his neck as he was violently abducted by five masked men.

One British member of the prince’s entourage describes how hours after the prince was kidnapped the Saudi ambassador in Geneva arrived at the prince’s suite in the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva to tell his entourage they should all get out as the prince was now in Riyadh.

There has been no attempt by the Swiss government or any western authority to try to get access to Prince Sultan or any of the kidnapped princes in Saudi Arabia.

The criminal case for kidnap that Prince Sultan is pressing in Geneva against two senior Saudi officials – Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd and the minister of Islamic affairs, Saleh al-Sheikh – remains open.

The documentary also reveals new details about the abduction of another dissident, Prince Turki bin Bandar. He is a former senior police officer whose responsibilities once included policing the royal family.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

15-08-2017 | 11:11

 

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