Can you contradict official opinion in Saudi? This prince found out
Is this an act of bravery or recklessness?
No idea. But what Prince Abdullah bin Saud, president of the Saudi Marine Sports Federation, did on Monday was shocking.
The Saudi prince released an audio recording on Monday contradicting the Saudi authorities’ version of the arrest of 11 princes in Riyadh last week which resulted in removing him from his post, according to a statement published by Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
Prince Abdullah bin Saud insisted that the recording was his own personal initiative, according to the statement.
He was referring to the recent arrest of 11 princes who Kingdom officials said they were complaining about loss of privileges related to utility bills.
Is the Prince saying this was not the case?
True or false
The official state version stated that the princes concerned had gathered in front of the palace protesting the imposition of electricity and water bills on them, and demanding compensation for the execution of a convicted cousin of theirs.
According to Al Jazeera news, Prince Abdullah bin Saud had other ideas saying: “The princes had arrived at the palace to accompany one of their relatives who was called to be asked about his previous job. Upon arrival, he was let in but they were prevented from entering with him, and a brief physical fight with the guards occurred.”
“The fight resulted in the issuance of orders to arrest the princes,” the news channel quoted him as saying.
In the recording, bin Saud defended the 11 princes saying that “they are the finest youth of the country, and there is no way that they can object to the orders of the rulers.”
Al Jazeera said the now fired from his post Prince’s own recording as saying that the princes were slapped with “false and illogical”.
According to Al Jazeera, the day after the recording was released, the chairman of the General Authority of Sport, Turki Al-Sheikh issued an order to remove bin Saud from his position immediately.
Crackdown on corruption
The arrest of the 11 princes and the forced resignation of Prince Abdullah bin Saud from his post come after the kingdom’s arrest of a group of high-profile people in November 2017.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor Saud al-Mojib announced in December 2017 that the majority of detainees have decided to settle and avoid prosecution but a few others, like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, will continue to be held until they settle or move the case to court proceedings but a date is yet undecided.
Dozens have already been released, but those who remain detained face allegations that include kickbacks, inflating government contracts, extortion and bribery, according to Reuters.
Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was the first to be released and he was reported to have settled for over $1bn.