Prince Faisal bin Abdullah al-Saud, a son of Saudi Arabia’s late monarch King Abdullah, has been in incommunicado detention since the end of March, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The lawyers from a prominent rights group have reported that Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, which was detained by Saudi authorities on March 27, has not been heard from since. That violation of human rights caused a stir on social media.
On Saturday, HRW said the prince was arrested by security forces in March while self-isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic at a family mansion in Riyadh.
That was not the first incident of such kind happened to Prince Faisal, the prominent member of the royal family, said the HRW. In 2017, he had been rounded up and detained at a luxury hotel in capital city, in what was billed as an attempt to combat corruption among the higher echelons of the kingdom’s bureaucracy. Prince Faisal, a former head of the Saudi Red Crescent Society, was released later that year.
While HRW said Prince Faisal’s whereabouts or status are not known, the Saudi authorities have not yet commented to the HRW’s report.
Saudi Arabia was criticized for violation of human rights
So far, Saudi Arabia prefers to regularly deny allegations of unfair detention amid growing criticism over the kingdom’s human rights record, including the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the devastating war in Yemen.
Earlier in March, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had launched a sweeping crackdown against senior royals and security officers. The experts see in that move the latest effort by the heir to the throne and de facto ruler to consolidate power in the kingdom.
Two of the royal family’s most influential members, Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, the youngest brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince and interior minister, were targeted in the crackdown.
Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at HRW said despite waves of criticism, the “lawless behaviour of Saudi authorities during the de facto rule of Mohammed bin Salman continues unabated”.
“Now we have to add Prince Faisal to the hundreds detained in Saudi Arabia without a clear legal basis,” HRW official added.
The Saudi authorities said last year the government was winding down the anti-corruption campaign targeting many of royals, businessmen and government officials but would continue to go after corruption.