Kabul fell, and the fires of fitna and disagreement alit between the
various Mujahideen factions.
We held our hands back from participating in such a diatribe and dark
fitna. I went back to the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) seeking safety and
tranquility. I looked for treatment for the amputated leg which I lost
during the Afghan Jihad. I stayed in Jeddah. I lived close to the
hospital in a small apartment caring about nothing except treating my
leg and healing my wounds.
After the Riyadh bombing (of a U.S. training facility November 1996),
I was awakened by strong knocking on my door. I stood on my canes
running to open it only to see it knocked down. The knockers burst into
the apartment. I thought they were thieves. I yelled at them: "Who are
you? What do you want from me?" They were eleven, members of the
Mabaheth (Saudi Security). They overcame me, searched my apartment and
turned it upside down after they had hand-cuffed me for about two hours.
All that time they were searching, they did not leave anything or
anywhere but searched, including the pipes in the bathroom. Then, they
took whatever they willed of books and tapes and took me with them,
tied. The trip took eight months of misery and agony.
I never thought anyone could find such a treatment of humiliation in
the land of the two holy shrines. The car stopped in front of a large
building. I knew it was ar-Ruwais Prison where the central Mabaheth of
Jeddah is located. We passed a large gate and the car made a tour of the
compound as if they wanted to give me a tourist flavor of the courtyard
of this complex, which was expanded as of late to be able to service the
victims of increasing and continuous security raids.
Inside the compound, I was hosted by prison guards who did the
routine "check-in" procedures from changing clothes to holding my
personal belongings. I was taken to a small cell not exceeding 1.5 m in
length by 1.0 m of width. I stayed there for 3 months. I was not there
for long after my arrival when I was taken to Office No. 1. There I met
the interrogator, "Abu Nayef" and who was recently promoted to the rank
of Lieutenant. He was promoted, I believe, for his commitment to
humiliating the servants of God and his creative methods in their
torture. I discovered later, that the "Abu Nayef" stop was a first-stop,
a low-ranking interrogation, but he is committed to doing this 'routine'
himself. He then gives the case to a subordinate, following the case
himself, or seeking the advice and directives of his boss, the prison
I stood in front of him, hand-cuffed. Two subordinates were standing
next to him. Their faces had no expressions except those of fear and
enmity. He asked me: "Were you the one who set up the Riyadh Bomb?" I
denied any connection to the bombing. It was the truth - I knew nothing
of the bombing except what I read and heard in the media.
They started beating me savagely. No place in my body but must have
received its share of beating and ache during the session. My clothes
were all torn. All this and my hands still handcuffed. I was half-naked.
Their appetite for torture was opened. Seeing the state I was in, now
using whips and tools I have never seen in my life. Hours of beating
later they were asking the same question again and again: "Why did you
bomb Riyadh?" I could do nothing but deny the charges. I did not do it.
I was dizzy and eventually passed out for what they served me. Every
time I passed out, they would throw water at me to wake me. I could no
longer stand, I fell on the floor. Had it not been the case that they
were bored and exhausted of torturing this soul they would have finished
me that day. They ordered guards to take me to the cell. Two guards
threw me there. I was like a dead corpse. I could no longer move.
They took me the next day again for interrogation. They asked me the
same question again and again. Each time I denied, they whipped me. They
improved their torture methods this time. I was tied by the arms to the
back hanging from a metal bar like a feast's beast ready for roasting.
The interrogation is now a special torture scene. They hit me with whips
and sticks all over. Sometimes they did it all as one group. Sometimes
they took turns. They were making Jihad in the way of Sultan and
competing as to who will skin me first. It was all licit in their eyes.
I could not stand to any of their plots. I was hanging in the air. My
head was in suspension too. Earth was turning. My soul was about to come
out seeking the help of its Creator against these beasts.
I was in a better shape than other prisoners. Some had no clothing
left during the torture or "roasting" feasts. They were fondling with
his private parts and inserting in his rectum whatever they willed.
All of this and they were laughing as if they were feasting on a camp
The second day I was taken to my cell. I was in a worst state than
during the party of the previous day. The feasts and parties continued
later on until the "Abu Nayef" was tired. He took me to his boss Zagzoug.
He had a worse tongue, and a Kufri speech. He cursed Shariah, Deen and
its people. He cursed the Scholars and the righteous ones. I remember
how he dealt with Deen and how he described Shar` (Islamic law), with
the worst of words, which, by Allah, hurt me more than what came upon me
in my physique of torture. I felt helpless to champion God in a time he
likes my championship. He was, with all this, threatening to rape me.
After the interrogators felt that I was a helpless case, for I had no
connection to the Riyadh bombing, they started to force me to confess
that I was of the people of Takfir, those who not only say that our
leaders are disbelievers, but thwho go to the point of claiming that
Ulema and society as a whole is in a state of disbelief. They wanted to
force me to confess to having targeted with armed action some specific
I knew later when I was taken to the collective cell that all the
youth that were under incarceration were forced to confess to Takfir and
armed action. This is with respect to Saudi citizens. As to non-Saudis
they were asked to confess to one of two things: either they worked for
the intelligence services of their home countries or supporting armed
struggle back home. Anyone who thought that either option would save him
of torture was fooled.
I realised after having been moved to the collective cell that the
number of prisoners of conscience was overwhelming. It is as if any
youth who displayed some degree of religiosity was incarcerated at
ar-Ruwais prison. I discovered that for some youth, their wives were
also incarcerated. They were being interrogated by savage beasts. I was
filled with rage and helplessness. These interrogators have no moral or
ethical standards to entice them not to target these ladies. I could
only seek God's help to protect and save them. Some prisoners told me
they were threatened to bring their womenfolk to rape if they did not
confess. I discovered also that several prisoners were gathered in one
room, naked, all tortured as the others watched to further humiliate and
degrade them. I also came to know that the Gehenna to which I was
exposed was nothing compared to what others have seen.
There were those who saw their toe and finger nails removed. There
were those who were deprived of sleep for consecutive days. I still
remember the sight of a prisoner who was forbidden sleep for 9 days.
They whipped him everytime he sat or tried to sleep. His torturers were
taking roles to make sure he does not sleep. They were on a "Jihadist"
crusade to forbid him from sleeping lest the country will be lost!! The
poor man lost his nerve and started to hysteric cry he still suffers
In the collective cell, I saw and heard what no one could ever
believe. In the concentration camp I saw a group of Mujahideen; those no
one in Arabia could point at except by way of honour and respect for
their dedication and courage in the way of God. I saw the famed Hassan
al-Srihi (of the 'Lion's Den' Operation in Afghanistan) who was brought
from Pakistan and delivered to the Regime. He was exposed to the worst
of torture by the Sultan's Servants to confess to the Riyadh Bombing.
Despite the fact that no connection has been established as to his
association with the bombing, whether close or far, he is still in
prison. No one championed him in the outside world, nor did the
authorities do justice to him.
I knew from my stay there that Palestinian Professor Muhammad Yusuf
Abbas who was Shaikh Abdallah Azzam's caliph at Maktab Khadamat
al-Mujahideen was there.
Abu Abdelaziz 'Barbaros', the man who was at the forefront of Jihad
in Bosnia, who is now almost fifty years old, who sacrificed much in
performing the duty of Jihad in Allah's sake, was also there.
I knew from my stay that there was a special cell called: "The
Trouble-Makers' Cell" prepared especially for those who do not cooperate
with the interrogators. The cell is situated outside the main building
at Ar-Ruwais Complex in the burning sun. It had a bath which did not
have an exit. Therefore all excrements remained on the spot bringing in
insects and the worst of odors. This is for those that pass by it, what
about those who live in it? This reminds me of another problem from
which we all suffer. That of bathrooms. The ratio of restrooms to
prisoners is small. We had to stand in line to relieve ourselves. We got
accustomed to relieving ourselves at the collective cell.
This is what I heard of eye witnesses and what I saw of physical and
emotional scars in me that still haunt me. Even after having been moved
to the collective cell. I was not spared the torture scenes. Each of us
was taken twice a week at least to the "roasting" feasts. During each
torture session the interrogators create new stories, new allegations,
from running a weapons' smuggling ring, to armed operations to
connections with 'x' or 'y' to Takfir.
Despite all this, the plots of torturers and servants of the Sultan
and their hopes are doomed to failure. It is through trial and through
sufferance that God's victory comes about and His Powers are displayed.
It is in these times that the sublime Sakinah and tranquility despite
adversity comes. It is through this that we get assurance that God's
Promise will be fulfilled and His Will shall come to pass as decreed. I
never heard anyone regret one day he spent in Jihad, or consider Jihad
as being the source of the hurt they were subject to at the hands of
those who do not fear Allah. Some have displayed the best of examples of
resistance and strength. Hassan al-Srihi was the talk of everyone: how
under torture he kept on reading Qur'an and making Zikr. He stayed in
such a state until the torture ended.
I felt reassured after I saw him. After all that I saw, the
confessions people saw on T.V, or those that were publicised in the
printed media were nothing but coerced confessions and the work of
interrogators who force their victims to sign whatever they write. If
you see those subject to such dehumanising conditions there is no way
one can believe what the authorities claim.
I ask The Almighty, in all His Powers, to remove this adversity
imposed on the people of the land of the Haramayn, for it is now a
prison for any one seeking reform, or supporting the law of Shar`, when
once, this land was a place of refuge for those oppressed. I ask him to
give victory to Muslims in general, and the people of the Peninsula in
particular, to give them victory over those who wronged them and to
consider what we have been subject to, me and my brethren, as bounties
in our favor on the day we meet Him. Amen.