Human Rights Watch: Saudi authorities detain Prince Faisal bin Abdullah


The emblem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Human Rights Watch said that authorities in Saudi Arabia recently detained another prominent member of the royal family.

The human rights organization added that an informed source, linked to members of the royal family, had reported that security forces detained Prince Faisal bin Abdullah on March 27 while he was staying in self-isolation due to the Corona virus, at a family housing complex near the capital Riyadh.

Prince Faisal, son of the late Saudi King Abdullah, was among other members of the royal family who had been affected by an anti-corruption campaign and released in late 2017.

For its part, the authorities in Saudi Arabia did not comment on the allegations that came after reports issued earlier this year about the detention of two prominent princes.

Earlier in March, Saudi authorities arrested Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, brother of King Salman, and also arrested former Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who was expelled from the Crown Prince in 2017 and placed under house arrest, according to Reuters news agency.

Informed sources said that the time came a proactive step to ensure compliance within the royal family of Al Saud, in preparation for the rise of Muhammad bin Salman to the throne of the Kingdom in the event of the king’s death or abdication.

It is not clear whether the arrest of Prince Faisal, to whom the reports refer, is related to previous arrests of Prince Nayef bin Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and Prince Nawwaf bin Nayef.

The Saudi authorities have arrested a number of dissidents, including prominent advocates, thinkers and human rights activists, and launched a campaign against corruption in 2017 that affected dozens of them, including members of the royal family, ministers and businessmen.

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Prince Faisal was among other members of the royal family who had been affected by an anti-corruption campaign and were detained at the Ritz Hotel in 2017

Observers believe that these campaigns fall within the framework of the efforts of the Crown Prince and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Muhammad bin Salman to strengthen his grip on power.

“We must add Prince Faisal to hundreds of detainees in Saudi Arabia without a clear legal basis,” said Michael Page, deputy director of the Middle East division at Human Rights Watch.

For its part, the Saudi authorities persist in denying allegations of unfair arrests.

Human Rights Watch says that Prince Faisal’s whereabouts and condition are unknown.

“The sources said that Prince Faisal has not been publicly criticized by the authorities since his arrest in December 2017, and that family members are concerned about his health, especially since he suffers from heart problems,” the organization added.

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