Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman insists on escalating repression and arrests inside and outside the Kingdom, despite a series of international and human rights criticism, ahead of the G20 summit.
Bin Salman does not care about the size of the diplomatic and international damage to the Kingdom’s human rights record, but what matters to him is establishing the pillars of his control over governance in the Kingdom.
The Public Prosecution of the Al Saud regime announced, on September 7, the issuance of final rulings against those accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the closure of the case, both public and private, after the executions were retracted.
The prosecution said that final verdicts had been issued against eight convicts in the Khashoggi murder case.
The prosecution sentenced five convicts in the Khashoggi case to 20 years imprisonment, while it sentenced three convicts between 7 and 10 years in prison, stressing that the Khashoggi case’s verdicts are final.
In a new escalation against prisoners of conscience, the Al Saud authorities have, in recent days, sentenced dozens of detainees from the September 2017 campaign to prison terms of varying years, after they were charged with flimsy charges.
Although imprisonment is the fate of those who criticize the regime from within the Kingdom, bin Salman faces enormous difficulties in silencing those who oppose him abroad, and those who sit among his international allies.
The famous American journalist Bob Woodward revealed in his latest book, which he will publish next Tuesday, entitled “Anger,” that US President Donald Trump boasted that he had succeeded in “saving” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on October 2, 2018, inside a consulate. His country is in Istanbul.
The excerpts of the book revealed that Trump boasted, in one of their recorded interviews, that he had succeeded in “saving” bin Salman, whom Congress held responsible for the assassination of Khashoggi.
In the article, Trump’s rival, Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden, described Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” and threatened to halt arms sales to the Kingdom.
Another manifestation of bin Salman’s campaign is that the Saudi authorities recently launched a new arrest campaign inside the Kingdom. This time, the arrests affect another member of the former intelligence officer’s family, Saad al-Jabri, the husband of al-Jabri’s daughter, arrested by the Saudi authorities under the pretext of interrogating him, and then he was hidden in an attempt New for forced pressure.
The arrests also reached opinion leaders and religious scholars, including all of the famous reciter Abdullah Basfar, an associate professor in the Department of Sharia and Islamic Studies at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, former Secretary-General of the World Book and Sunnah Organization.
In the context, the sister of the women’s rights activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, said that her family members are very concerned because they have not heard anything from her since June 9.
Princess Basma bint Saud family and the family of the former crown prince, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, have also been isolated, and news of the famous preacher Salman Al-Awda has been interrupted, and nothing has been heard from him since last May.
A report by Human Rights Watch confirmed that detainees in the Kingdom are isolated from the outside world and denied access to their relatives and lawyers.
The organization demanded to visit the Kingdom and to conduct special visits for detainees in prisons. It is noteworthy that the Saudi authorities had deprived the detainees of their right to personal visits, under the pretext of limiting the Corona virus’s spread.
As for a European, the presence of the weapon that Germany made to export weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, against the background of the killing of the opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a crime that was attributed to Mohammed bin Salman, in addition to the imprisonment of activists and opponents, contributed significantly to discrediting bin Salman and led to making his relations With global investors plagued by apathy.
In the event that Germany extends its arms presence to the Kingdom again, which ends in December, Germany will add influence to itself in order to increase pressure on bin Salman in the field of human rights, which will lead to an increase in the embarrassment that bin Salman is currently facing.
European Parliament Member Eva Kylie said: “If they treat the royal family like this and without justice, you can imagine what is happening with others.” About what bin Salman is doing with members of the royal family and the rest of the Saudi people.
As researcher Neil Quilliam, at the British Chatham House Institute, said, “Mohammed bin Salman cannot bear this escalation, as the good intentions that many felt towards the young prince and his great ambitions have been implemented.”
“If the human rights violations stop and the prisoners are released, memories will soon fade, and political and financial investment will likely revive, but as long as the situation continues or escalates more, the costs for the kingdom will increase,” Quilliam added.
The Kingdom is preparing to host the G20 summit in November of this year. The crown prince can restore his reputation and relations with investors, but after he takes effective measures regarding detainees’ release from his family and the rest of the thinkers and preachers, especially those who demanded the European Parliament to release them.
However, at the same time, bin Salman may return to his first gift of bribing European governments through exaggerated arms deals, at the expense of the Saudi people’s money.
Experts at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute say that arms sales often trump human rights. Even so, silencing critics still have a cost for bin Salman.
While Mohammed bin Salman tries to portray himself as a reformed ruler and oppress the corrupt, but he keeps his wealth secret and uses anti-corruption campaigns to eliminate his rivals who entered the Kingdom.
On charges of corruption, bin Salman, a few days ago, exempted two members of the royal family, the first being Prince Fahd bin Turk Abdul Aziz Al Saud, commander of the fighting forces in Yemen, and the second was his son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, deputy governor of Al-Jawf Governorate in North Arabia Saudi.
These exemptions were based on instructions received from Mohammed bin Salman on charges of suspicious financial transfers in the Ministry of Defense, and the royal order issued to exempt the two princes stated that the decision was based on what was transferred from Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the Crown Prince, to the Supervision and Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation.
Moreover, associated with that, there are suspicions about the source of bin Salman’s money, which he spends on buying yachts, palaces, and paintings.
The apparent fact is that behind all these arrests, the young prince cannot tolerate opponents’ presence in his surroundings. After he was appointed crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman began liquidating his opponents not to have a contestant on the throne and spread his hand over the entire Saudi economy.
Although many Saudi affairs observers assert that the race for the throne is settled in favor of Muhammad bin Salman, his measures in recent years, including arrests, dismissals, and extortion, have caused new enemies’ emergence.
Therefore, Mohammed bin Salman is doing to continue working to establish his authority by all means.