A Saudi man who was recently released from an Iraqi jail said he was tortured by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Abdullah al-Anzi spent eight years in detention in Iraq after he was arrested for illegal entry into the country. During his years of detention, he was transferred between several prisons, including the notorious Abu Ghraib west of the capital Baghdad.
“Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were allowed inside the cells and were given free hand to torture the prisoners,” he said. “This was especially obvious in al-Nasseriyah prison,” Anzi said.
He said while some Saudi detainees were sentenced to jail and other to death, “some have been detained without trial.”
According to Tamer al-Balheed, head of the Committee for Saudi Detainees in Iraq, Anzi’s health deteriorated in prison and no medical care was offered to him until he eventually contracted tuberculosis.
“When he was detained in Baghdad’s Central Prison, he was not allowed a lawyer and the Central Criminal Court sentenced him to 10 years in jail,” he told Al Arabiya’s four o’clock news bulletin.
Anzi, Balheed explained, was tortured by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as well as al-Mahdy Army, the militia established by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
“This is the case with all Saudi detainees in Iraq. The arbitrary detention of Anzi for eight whole years against the backdrop of absolute absence of law and sectarian conflict is just an example of the status of those prisoners.”
Balheed said that the number of Saudi detainees in Iraq is estimated at 60, kept in different Iraqi prisons, all staying in deplorable conditions and exposed to various forms of torture.
“Some of them perish while in detention like detainee Mazen Abdullah al-Harbi, who died in the Soussa Prison in Suleimaniyah in February 2007 and untill this moment, his body has not been handed to the Saudi authorities.”
Another detainee, he said, was injected with acid 11 months ago and died in prison. The Iraqi authorities never reported the incident.
In addition, Balheed noted, three Saudi youths were “arbitrarily disappeared” by the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and are now detained in al-Muthana Prison in Baghdad’s International Airport.
“Another Saudi citizen named Mohamed al-Johari is detained inside the ministry of interior building’s seventh floor.”
Saudi Arabia and Iraq have opened discussions on the issue of prisoners.
“But then we were met with extreme intransigence on the part of al-Maliki’s government,” Balheed said.
He added that when the Saudi embassy in Jordan asked that all Saudi prisoners be transferred to the Soussa Prison in Suleimaniyah so that their families can visit them in coordination with the International Red Cross, they took 20 of them to al-Taji Prison in Baghdad where no one was allowed to see them.
“The Iraqi government does not give the Red Cross access to prisons citing the volatile security situation plus some Saudi youths are specifically detained and isolated by the Iraqi government.”
Balheed also expressed his surprise at the Iraqi government’s stance on Iraqi detainees in Saudi.
“There are 130 Iraqi prisoners in Saudi Arabia, nine of whom are in the
death row, and they have repeatedly pleaded with Iraqi officials and clerics to mediate to solve their cases, but the Iraqi authorities forgot about them.”