Three years have passed since the arrest of the young Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his father in January 2018. Their fate remains unknown as they have been detained incommunicado, denied visitations and any contact with the outside world.
The Times newspaper quoted a source close to the family saying that Prince Salman, who graduated from the French Sorbonne University and speaks four languages, and his father, were held until recently in a two-storey house in Riyadh, under the guarding of ten security personnel.
The newspaper described the conditions of the two princes’ detention as “tragic,” as they could only move inside the house, sit at its entrance and drink tea in the shade, while allowing their families to communicate with them through a special phone line that is being wiretapped all the time.
Nevertheless, two and a half months ago, the two princes mysteriously disappeared completely, and none of their relatives was able to communicate with them. The house in which they were being held appears deserted.
The Times quoted an ally of Prince Salman saying: “We fear that they might be subjected to beatings. Maybe they have been killed while we are not aware”.
The Times indicated that Prince Salman was among 11 princes who were detained in 2018, and his arrest came due to bin Salman seeing a potential danger in him, as Prince Salman owned 60 million pounds (more than $ 82 million) real estate in Paris.
The Times quoted that reports about the disappearance of detainees in the Saudi Arabia raise concerns about the safety of the former Crown Prince, Prince Mohamed bin Nayef, who has been subjected to ill-treatment since his detention last year.
The arrest of Prince Salman is described as “the most distressing in Saudi Arabia” due to his lack of political ambition and his focus on charitable work that does not make him a potential opponent of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
Prince Salman, 37, who bears the same name as the Saudi king, is known for his funding of development projects in poor countries.
A Saudi prince was forcibly
An aide to the Prince told Agence France-Presse that “this is not only an illegal detention, this is abduction in broad daylight and enforced disappearance” which is defined under international law as the arrest or detention of a person by state officials or their agents, followed by a refusal to acknowledging their deprivation of liberty, or to reveal the person’s fate or whereabouts.
The director of ALQST, Safaa Al-Ahmad, told Al-Hurra website: “To this day, no charges have been brought against Salman or his father Abdel Aziz,” adding: “This is an arbitrary arrest”. MENA and ALQST organizations confirmed that the prince and his father had not been subjected to any interrogation since their arrest, which means that their arrest “has no legal basis.”
Prince Salman, who has been arrested among a campaign of arrests of members of the royal family, has moved between more than one place of detention, where he was transferred from a guarded villa in Riyadh, without any official charges being brought against him to an undisclosed location, according to what a European parliamentarian revealed, last Wednesday.
He stayed for about a year in Al-Haiir prison near Riyadh, and later in a guarded villa in Riyadh with his father, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Then he was transferred to a secret detention place last March, and two months later he returned to the villa, “after costs of two million dollars” according to sources to AFP at the time.
Last May, The New York Times reported that a former aide to Prince Salman had signed a two-million-dollar deal to maintain a pressure group in Washington, affiliated to Robert Strick, who has good relations with foreign policy of Donald Trump’s administrations, to put pressure on the US and European governments to call for the release of the prince.
On Wednesday, a letter to a European parliamentarian revealed that Prince was transferred, without any official charges being brought against him, to an “unknown location”, where Prince Salman and his father were previously allowed to make phone calls monitored by Saudi intelligence, but since last Saturday, no contact has been made.
Some predicted that the prince’s meeting with Democratic US congressman Adam Schiff in 2016 disturbed the royal court, which was supporting Donald Trump during elections, but his aides confirmed that nothing political was discussed.
The former White House officer on policy with Saudi Arabia, Christen Fontenrose said, “Those who pushed for this arrest have seriously misunderstood the US policy, which could definitely have a negative impact on Saudi Arabia if the democrats lead the next administration”, which became the case now.
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