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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 18:37 GMT
Briton speaks out over Saudi 'torture'
Ron Jones
Ron Jones met the BBC's Sarah Montague
A Briton who was arrested and imprisoned for a series of bomb explosions in Saudi Arabia has claimed he would have confessed to "anything" after he was allegedly tortured.

Speaking in an interview with Sarah Montague for BBC HARDtalk, Ron Jones claimed he was subjected to physical and mental torture including regular beatings and sleep deprivation.

"I would have confessed to anything to stop the beatings, to stop the psychological torture, to stop my life," he said.

Mr Jones, from Hamilton, in Lanarkshire, was arrested in Riyadh last March after a series of blasts in which a British man and an American were killed.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
There have been a number of bombings in Riyadh
Mr Jones says he was taken from the hospital bed where he was recovering from an injury sustained in one of the blasts, imprisoned and then tortured until he was forced to give a confession.

He was later released after being allowed to retract his confession.

'Proof' of torture

Mr Jones met Foreign Office officials last week to discuss his claims of ill treatment.

In the interview he maintained that he had medical proof he had been a victim of torture.

He claims he was sent to an institute in Denmark that works specifically with victims of torture, by the Foreign Office and the Metropolitan Police.

He said the institute had proved that specific injuries on his feet could only have been caused by repeated beatings.

Death penalty

Mr Jones also called for the release of five British men who have been arrested on suspicion of alcohol-related offences in Saudi Arabia.

The men have been held in prison since the beginning of December and, if found guilty, could face the death penalty.

Mr Jones believes they could have been tortured and has called for the Saudi Government to free them.


They psychologically brainwash you

Ron Jones
"I want their assurance that the prisoners that are still in Saudi Arabia are not being tortured," he said.

"In fact I would go as far as to say I would want them released on the basis that if I was tortured into making the confessions, they have been tortured into making the confessions."

Mr Jones said he was concerned for the safety of the five men.

"I fear for them," he said. "I know the fear that they are feeling at the moment and that terrible feeling of loneliness and there's nobody there to help them and you don't know what is to come next."

Shackled

Speaking about his own personal struggle, Mr Jones described the moment he was taken into solitary confinement.

"They put me up against a wall, shackled my feet first, handcuffed me, then blindfolded me," he said.

Saudi Arabia
Mr Jones spent a total of 67 days in jail in Saudi Arabia
He described specific incidents of sleep deprivation, such as someone banging on his cell door every seven to ten minutes during the night to ensure he "wouldn't sleep".

Mr Jones also talked about the moment he gave in and confessed, after he claimed he was informed that his wife and son had been arrested.

"They psychologically brainwash you," he said.

"You are deprived of sleep, you are constantly bombarded with abuse physically, mentally. To me your body just shuts down and says you can take no more."

Mr Jones was imprisoned for a total of 67 days.

He claims he was forced to sign an agreement before he was released silencing him from speaking out about his treatment, even to his wife.

And he was unable to leave the country for six months because the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior retained his passport.

He is calling for an apology and compensation from the Saudi Arabian Government.

You can hear the HARDtalk interview in full on BBC News 24 at 2230GMT and on BBC World at 1930GMT, repeated on Wednesday at 0030GMT.

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 ON THIS STORY
Ron Jones
"Your body just shuts down and says you can take no more."
See also:

05 Feb 01 | Scotland
'Shock' at Saudi bomb arrests
17 Nov 00 | Middle East
Briton killed in Saudi blast
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