Connect with us

Arabia

Saudi Arabia detains hundreds of government officials

Hundreds of government officials, including military and security personnel, have been detained in Saudi Arabia on charges involving bribery and exploiting public office. The announcement late on Sunday by Saudi’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) also said that investigators would bring charges against those currently held in custody. More: MBS and the Saudi crisis of legitimacy Analysis: There is…

Saudi Arabia detains hundreds of government officials

Hundreds of government officials, including military and security personnel, have been detained in Saudi Arabia on charges involving bribery and exploiting public office.
The announcement late on Sunday by Saudi’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) also said that investigators would bring charges against those currently held in custody.
More:

MBS and the Saudi crisis of legitimacy

Analysis: There is a perfect storm brewing in Saudi Arabia

Dozens of Palestinians face ‘terrorism court’ in Saudi Arabia

In 2017, security forces arrested scores of princes and members of the kingdom’s political and business elite in what was billed as in an attempt to combat corruption among the higher echelons of the Saudi bureaucracy.
Those arrested were locked up for weeks in the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, where some were reportedly physically mistreated. 
According to experts, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the son of King Salman and heir to the throne, used the purge to remove people who could potentially pose a political threat.
The royal court said last year it was winding down that campaign after 15 months, but the authorities later said they would start going after graft by ordinary government employees.
Nazaha tweeted on Sunday that it had arrested and would indict 298 people on crimes such as bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power involving a total of 379 million riyals ($101m). 
Among those implicated are eight defence ministry officers suspected of bribery and money laundering regarding government contracts during the years 2005-2015; and 29 interior ministry officials in the Eastern Province, including three colonels, a major general and a brigadier general.
Two judges were also detained for receiving bribes, along with nine officials accused of corruption at Riyadh’s Almaarefa University, following a partial building collapse which caused deaths and injuries, Nazaha said.
The agency provided no names and few other details about the cases.
Renewed crackdown
The arrests follow a new crackdown against senior royals and top officials earlier this month, according to several reports, in what appears to be the crown prince’s latest effort to consolidate control of all major levers of power inside the kingdom.
Among those held in the sweeping clampdown are two of the most prominent royal family members: Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, a younger brother of the king, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew and former crown prince.
While Saudi authorities have not officially commented on the arrests, reports triggered rumours about a possible coup attempt or sudden deterioration in the health of 84-year-old King Salman.
MBS, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has reportedly fuelled resentment among some in the ruling family by tightening his grip on power and some question his ability to lead following the international backlash to the 2018 murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.  
Some royals and members of the business elite have also expressed frustration with MBS’s leadership following a major attack on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure last year that was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, sources told Reuters news agency.
A Saudi-UAE-led coalition fighting the Houthis to restore exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government has so far killed tens of thousands of people in Yemen, relief agencies say.
The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.
Continue Reading…

Arabia

Saudi Arabia rebuked at UN over Jamal Khashoggi killing, abuses |NationalTribune.com

Dozens of nations condemned Saudi Arabia before the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday over serious violations and demanded accountability for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a relatively rare rebuke of the oil-rich kingdom before the UN’s top rights body, Denmark’s Ambassador Carsten Staur read a statement on behalf of 29 states demanding…

Saudi Arabia rebuked at UN over Jamal Khashoggi killing, abuses |NationalTribune.com

Dozens of nations condemned Saudi Arabia before the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday over serious violations and demanded accountability for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a relatively rare rebuke of the oil-rich kingdom before the UN’s top rights body, Denmark’s Ambassador Carsten Staur read a statement on behalf of 29 states demanding justice for Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 by an assassination team.
In the third joint statement to the council targeting Riyadh since the killing, the mainly European countries renewed a call for “transparency and holding all those responsible accountable”.

“We stress the need for full accountability and transparent prosecution of those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Germany’s Ambassador Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg.
The Saudi journalist was lured into the Saudi consulate to handle marriage paperwork. Within minutes, the one-time royal insider turned critic was strangled and his body dismembered, according to Turkish and US officials.
A Saudi court this month handed lengthy jail terms to eight unnamed defendants and overturned five death sentences, in a ruling harshly condemned by Khashoggi’s fiancee and UN rights expert Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings.
Callamard, who like the CIA had previously linked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to the killing, decried that top officials who allegedly ordered the murder walked free.
Torture, disappearances
Tuesday’s statement, which was hailed by several human rights groups, also highlighted a wide range of other serious rights violations in Saudi Arabia.
“We remain deeply concerned by reports of torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and detainees being denied access to essential medical treatment and contact with their families,” it said.
Staur said the countries welcomed recent reforms such as restricting flogging and the death penalty against minors, but stressed journalists, activists, and others still face persecution, detention and intimidation.
The statement also echoed the criticism voiced by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet over the “arbitrary detention” of a number of women human rights activists in the country.

She told the opening of the council session on Monday the detained women simply requested to “be empowered to make their own choices, as equals to men”, insisting “they should be released without delay”.
Saudi Arabia’s representative hit back on Tuesday insisting “the detention of any women has nothing to do with their right to exercise the freedom of expression, but for violations of the standing laws”.
“Their rights are fully respected as detainees,” he said, adding they were guaranteed a fair trial.
Tortured and sexually harassed
Saudi Arabia has detained and put on trial a dozen female activists who long campaigned for the right to drive, which was finally granted in the kingdom two years ago.
Some of the activists allege they were tortured and sexually harassed by interrogators. Staur highlighted that at least five women’s human rights defenders arrested in 2018 remain in detention.
“We reiterate our call for the release of all political detainees and are particularly concerned about the use of the counterterrorism law and other security provisions against individuals peacefully exercising their rights,” he said.

Tuesday’s statement also urged dramatic improvements as Saudi Arabia strives to obtain a seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council.
“Council membership comes with an expectation of upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” Staur said.
Germany, speaking on behalf of the European Union at the United Nations Human Rights Council, decried Saudi Arabia’s “prolonged detentions of women rights defenders”, including Loujain al-Hathloul.
John Fisher of Human Rights Watch denounced Saudi Arabia’s “brutal targeting of defenders and dissidents” and urged the release of the female activists and “others arbitrarily detained”.
Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Arabia

Saudi Arabia tells US it wants fair solution for Palestinians |NationalTribune.com

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz spoke to United State President Donald Trump on the phone, state media reported [File: Bandar Al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via [AFP Photo] Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz told United States President Donald Trump that the Gulf country wanted to see a fair and permanent solution for the Palestinians, which was…

Saudi Arabia tells US it wants fair solution for Palestinians |NationalTribune.com

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz spoke to United State President Donald Trump on the phone, state media reported [File: Bandar Al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via [AFP Photo]
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz told United States President Donald Trump that the Gulf country wanted to see a fair and permanent solution for the Palestinians, which was the starting point for its 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, the kingdom’s state news agency reported on Monday.
The two men spoke by phone following a US-brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to normalise ties with Israel.
King Salman told Trump that he appreciated US efforts to support peace and that Saudi Arabia wanted to see a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue based on its Arab Peace Initiative.
Under the proposal, Arab nations have offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognise Israel.

A history of Arab-Israeli normalisation

However, this month the kingdom said it would allow flights between UAE and Israel, including by Israeli aircraft, to use its airspace.
During the call, Trump told King Salman that he welcomed that decision, and that the two also discussed regional security, a White House spokesman said.
Palestinian issue
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is also a White House adviser, has said he hopes another Arab country normalises ties with within months.
No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE. Egypt and Jordan normalised ties decades ago.
King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Kushner discussed the need for the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume negotiations and reach a lasting peace after Kushner visited the UAE last month.
The UAE-Israel deal was met by overwhelming opposition among Palestinians who have condemned the move as a “stab in the back”.
On Sunday, leaders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and the Palestinian Hamas group met to discuss the US push for diplomatic normalisation, the movement said.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniya and Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Shia Hezbollah movement, stressed the “stability” of the “axis of resistance” against Israel.

SOURCE:
News agencies

Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Arabia

Saudi Arabia condemns attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on Riyadh |NationalTribune.com

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has condemned Yemen’s Houthis for targeting the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with eight armed drones and three ballistic missiles, state news agency SPA said in a statement. The statement late on Tuesday called the attacks “terroristic acts” that target civilians and threatened the lives of hundreds of people. At least two large explosions…

Saudi Arabia condemns attacks by Yemen’s Houthis on Riyadh |NationalTribune.com

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has condemned Yemen’s Houthis for targeting the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with eight armed drones and three ballistic missiles, state news agency SPA said in a statement.
The statement late on Tuesday called the attacks “terroristic acts” that target civilians and threatened the lives of hundreds of people.
At least two large explosions were heard in Riyadh near dawn on Tuesday and smoke billowed into the sky.
The Houthis said they had hit the Saudi defence ministry and a military base, while a Saudi-led military coalition said it had shot a missile down, making no reference to targets.
There was no sign of damage to the side of the defence ministry building that is visible from the main road or to any surrounding buildings. The area was quiet on Tuesday evening, with normal traffic flows and no additional security measures.

The Houthis have repeatedly fired on Saudi Arabia during the conflict, but had not targeted Riyadh since late March, when Saudi Arabia said it shot down a missile and two residents were injured by falling debris.
Violence between the two sides has surged after the expiry last month of the six-week ceasefire prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yemen has been divided between the Saudi-backed government in the south and the Houthi movement based in the north since the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014 and the Saudi-led coalition intervened a few months later in March 2015.
Since then, tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions have been pushed to the brink of famine, in what the United Nations has called “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”.
Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech that the group fired several missiles and drones, which “pounded” military headquarters and centres in Riyadh, including the defence ministry and King Salman Air Base.
Sarea said attacks were also launched against military sites in the southern Saudi cities of Najran and Jizan.
Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki also condemned the latest attack on Riyadh saying it was a “deliberate hostile action designed to target civilians”.
The coalition had also shot down three missiles headed towards Najran and Jizan and a number of drones, he said.
The conflict in Yemen is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Trending