Insight with Mark Hollingsworth and Sandy Mitchell: Tortured in Saudi Arabia

Talk Thursday 1st February, 2007

Sandy Mitchell tells David Leigh how the British government virtually abandoned him in a Saudi jail, where he was tortured and forced to confess to alleged involvement in two bombings in Saudi Arabia. With co-author Mark Hollingsworth. 

When Mitchell was arrested in Saudi Arabia in December 2000, he at first thought it was a case of mistaken identity and that he would soon be released.

Instead, he spent nearly three years in jail, where he was repeatedly tortured before being forced to sign a confession and admit his guilt on Saudi television.

He tells his story in his book Saudi Babylon, written together with investigative journalist Mark Hollingsworth.

This is a story of a shocking miscarriage of justice. But it also reveals an even more disturbing truth: how the British government, mindful of multi-billion-pound arms sales to Saudi Arabia, virtually abandoned Mitchell by adopting a softly-softly diplomatic approach to the corrupt Saudi royal family.

David Leigh is the investigations editor of The Guardian.