Ha’er prison in Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Faisal Al Nasser/ Reuters
These options are part of a substantial internal review said to have been ordered by the king, who approved the commissioning of examinations of up to 60 captives,
many of them women, for a report to be circulated around the royal court, a source said.
Some of the assessments were leaked to the Guardian, which asked the Saudi government to comment on the medical reports more than a week ago. A spokesman declined to discuss the issue, despite being given repeated opportunities to do so. Officials did not challenge the authenticity of the reports.
The Guardian has been able independently to verify the accuracy and contents of one of the examinations. The conditions of other individuals, as described in the documents, are consistent with reports that have emerged involving claims of torture, though the Guardian has not been able to corroborate the details.
Pressure on Saudi Arabia over the detention and
treatment of political prisoners has been growing in recent months amid claims that some female activists have been subjected to electric shocks and lashes in custody.
With the kingdom also reeling from the aftermath of the
murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, King Salman is said to have ordered a review of the decision to arrest and detain about 200 men and women in a crackdown ordered by his heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
According to a source with knowledge of the review, the royal court set aside objections from Prince Mohammed’s aides and sought brief medical exam on a number of detainees to get a snapshot of their health.
The men believed to have been examined include Adel Ahmad Banaemah, Mohammed Saud Al Bisher, Fahad Abdullaziz Al-Sunaidi, Zuhair Kutbi, Abdullaziz Fawzan al-Fawzan and Yasser Abdullah al-Ayyaf.
The Guardian understands the women include Samar Mohammad Badawi, Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi and Abeer Adbdullatif Al Namankany.
The Guardian has been told the examinations took place in January and the medical reports, which are marked confidential, have been included in a detailed overview that includes three broad recommendations to the king about what to do next.
According to the medical reports watched by the Guardian, the comments about the detainees indicate many have been severely ill-treated and have a range of health problems.
In almost all cases, the reports demanded the prisoners be urgently transferred from solitary confinement to a medical centre.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with King Salman. The statements on detainees include 😛 TAGEND
” The patient suffers from severe weight loss with continuous bloody vomiting. There are also a number of meanders and bruises scattered in several areas of the body”
” There are also a number of visible injuries in the chest and lower back”
” The patient must be transferred from solitary confinement to the specialised clinic for immediate treatment and further medical examination”
” The patient has difficulty walking because of a number of bruises visible on the legs area. A number of injuries are also visible on the forearm and lower back region. Malnutrition and obvious dryness on the skin”
” The patient suffers from a number of bruises visible on the body, especially in the areas of back, abdomen and thighs. It also appears to be malnourished due to lack of feeing and facial pallor and general weakness in the body”
” The patient cannot move at all due to wounds in both legs as well as severe weakness in the body due to malnutrition and lack of liquids”
” The patient suffers from severe burns throughout the body. Old wounds were not altogether mended because of medical negligence”
” The patient suffers from difficulty in motion due to severe malnutrition and general absence of liquids. There are also a number of bruises, wounds and sores throughout the body”
A protester’s picture of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Photograph: Osman Orsal/ Reuters