Recently, prisons have been getting more and more crowded, and the conditions are getting more and more difficult. The last prison I went to was the worst one I have seen yet – just as bad if not worse as in Jeddah, from what I can see in leaked videos. My cell was 5 metres by 6 metres, and I had 23 cellmates. We had to take turns sleeping – some of the men even slept in the toilet stalls. It could get very cold at night, and we didn’t have enough blankets.
The prison’s hygiene was terrible. The food was barely cooked. When we were served pieces of chicken, there would still be feathers on it.
Of course, in these conditions, people would get sick very easily, and because we lived in such close quarters, illness would spread very rapidly. On top of that, it was very hard to see a doctor.
My back was injured during a brutal interrogation after my arrest. In prison, my injury only got worse, because I had to sleep on the floor. I asked to see a doctor – two weeks later, I finally saw one. All he would give me was acetaminophen, which didn’t work. That’s all the doctors would give anyone, no matter what the problem was. My doctor told me that was all they had to give, anyway. My back finally got so bad that they finally had to let me out so I could get real treatment in a hospital.
The strange thing is, in the news, you read lots of stories about how Saudi prisons are getting more money, about how they’re making living conditions better for prisoners… but we don’t see this in prison. The money doesn’t seem to get to where it needs to go.”