Walid Fitaihi is a Harvard-trained doctor who was dragged from his room in Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton hotel in 2017. He was "blindfolded, stripped of his underwear and bound to a chair," according to the report.
Fitaihi was detained without any public charges or trial during a so-called crackdown on corruption. Around 200 prominent Saudis were detained with him of which dozens are still imprisoned.
Friends and families of other detainees have also reported torture on their loved ones. At least 17 were hospitalized due to torture in custody. One detained military officer died of a twisted neck.
Dr. Fitaihi’s report of torture could create more tension between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. President Donald Trump administration is already under pressure due to its inaction after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, and the administration's subsequent unwillingess to criticize de facto ruler of the kindom Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist who fled to the U.S. when the Saudi prince ordered a crackdown on dissent.
A resident of the United States, Khasshogi went to the Saudi embassy in Turkey in October 2018 where he was murdered and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents. The CIA concluded that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s killings.
The U.S. Senate voted unanimously in December on a non-binding resolution to put the blame of Khashoggi’s murder on MBS.
Last year, Khashoggi, before his murder, had protested Fitaihi’s detention by the kingdom. In a tweet, he wrote, “What has happened to us? How can someone like Dr. Walid Fitaihi be arrested and what are the justifications for it?"