The former crown prince of Saudi Arabia has suffered serious injuries to his feet from beatings and can no longer walk unaided, sources familiar with his situation said, citing torture during his detention by the kingdom.
NBC News, citing two people familiar with his situation, reported on Wednesday that Mohammed bin Nayef had lost more than 50 pounds, while pain medication for his previous injuries was withheld.
“[He] is not allowed outside and is confined to his own area,” said one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “During the course of the day, he does not see anyone and has not been allowed access to his personal doctor or legal representatives.”
Mohammed bin Nayef, 61, was Saudi Arabia’s crown prince until he was removed to be replaced with Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) four years ago, after which he was also relieved of all positions by royal decree.
He was arrested and charged with treason along with his half-brother Nawwaf bin Nayef and his uncle Ahmed bin Abdulaziz on March 6, 2020, as MBS, the de facto Saudi leader, moved to consolidate power and get rid of rivals.
A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that there is evidence bin Nayef was held recently at a government compound next to the al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, the official residence and office of the King of Saudi Arabia and the seat of the royal court, just a few hundred yards from where MBS hosts foreign dignitaries.
Since he was appointed by his father as the crown prince, bin Salman has tried to strengthen his grip on power by aggressively targeting and punishing his potential rivals within the kingdom.
Saudi forces arrested dozens of princes and prominent business figures in November 2017 and imprisoned them inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh under the pretext of an anti-corruption drive ordered by MBS.
According to current and former US officials, some of them were tortured during detention.
Former US President Donald Trump and his adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, fostered a close relationship with bin Salman, who has also waged a devastating war against neighboring country Yemen and ordered the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
While presidential candidate Joe Biden pledged to make Saudi Arabia “the pariah they are,” as president, Biden abandoned his promise soon after assuming office as the White House declared US “national interests” as the basis of its dealings with other countries as opposed to human rights.
Biden was strongly criticized when his administration announced its decision not to punish MBS after publishing an assessment by US intelligence agencies that he personally ordered the murder of Khashoggi.
“We held accountable all the people in that organization — but not the crown prince, because we have never that I'm aware of, when we have an alliance with a country, gone to the acting head of state and punished that person and ostracized him,” he said in an interview with ABC News on March 17.
Later in March, a US report raised concern about bin Nayef’s well-being and continued disappearance but made no mention of the kingdom’s controversial crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.