Saudi Arabia is holding King’s brother incommunicado since March: HRW

King's brother
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Saudi Arabia recently detained and are holding incommunicado Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, the king’s brother. He had previously been arrested in an anti-corruption drive and released in late 2017.

While citing a source with ties to the royal family, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday that Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, a son of late King Abdullah, was confined by security forces on March 27 while self-isolating because of the coronavirus pandemic at a family compound in the capital Riyadh.

However, the detention could not immediately be verified by RushHourDaily, nor did the Saudi government media office immediately respond to a detailed RushHourDaily request for comment.

Earlier in March, Saudi authorities had nabbed King Salman’s brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, and former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was replaced by Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in a 2017 palace coup before placing him under house arrest.

Sources in royalty said at the time that the move was a preemptive effort to ensure compliance within the ruling family ahead of eventual succession to the throne by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the king’s death or abdication.

It was unclear if the reported detention of Prince Faisal was related to those in early March, which also coincided with the detention of Ahmed’s son Nayef and Mohammed bin Nayef’s brother Nawaf.

Saudi authorities are silent on those detentions, which follow crackdowns on dissent in which clerics, right activists, and intellectuals have been arrested, and an anti-corruption drive launched in 2017 that nabbed a number of royals, ministers, and businessmen.

Critics have said the moves were motivated by Crown Prince Mohammed, the king’s son and the kingdom’s de facto ruler, aimed at consolidating his grip on power.

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“Now we have to add Prince Faisal to the hundreds detained in Saudi Arabia without a clear legal basis,” Michael Page, who is a deputy Middle East director at HRW, said

Saudi Arabia has regularly denied accusations of unfair detention. The kingdom said last year, the government was winding down the anti-corruption campaign after 15 months but would continue to go after graft.

Prince Faisal’s whereabouts or status are not known, according to HRW.

King’s brother has not publicly criticized the government since his December 2017 arrest. The family members are concerned about his health as he has a heart condition.

In December 2017, a senior Saudi official said Prince Faisal and another royal, Prince Meshaal bin Abdullah, were freed from Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, where people arrested in the anti-corruption drive were being held, after reaching a financial settlement with the government whose details were not made public.

About Staff Writer

My focus is on politics, history, religion, and philosophy of life. I present news analysis and opinion on current affairs and occasionally produce satire articles

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