Alahednews
english.alahednews.com.lb
Al-Ahed Telegram
Sayyed Nasrallah: US-Gulf Sanctions Ineffective, Confident of Victory in any Coming War Egypt, Ethiopia Fail to Reach Breakthrough in Dam Negotiations Intriguing Gold Coin, Other Treasures Uncovered in Egypt US House Okays Motion Opposing Attack on Iran Reform in Reverse in Saudi Arabia Champs League Final: Madrid, Liverpool Fans Gather in Kiev Struggling in Parliament, German Far Right Takes to Streets Why Trump’s Small-Handed Plan to Strangle Iran Will Fail South Korea Relieved About Trump-Kim Summit Revival Efforts «Israeli» Court Approves Razing West Bank Bedouin Village #Ethiopia Releasing #British National Detained in 2014 Sayyed #Nasrallah: Among the brother MPs in the ‘Loyalty to the Resistance bloc’, we chose Hassan #Fadlallah to follow up the file against #corruption Sayyed #Nasrallah: Our fight against #corruption is a serious and major battle, and it completes what happened in the 2000 #liberation Sayyed #Nasrallah: #Hezbollah didn’t and will not demand having one of the so-called sovereign ministerial portfolios Sayyed #Nasrallah: There are parties with whom we may disagree strategically, but nothing prevents from cooperating with them in fighting #corruption Sayyed #Nasrallah: The #Moroccan foreign minister has not offered any evidence to his #Iranian counterpart backing his accusations Sayyed #Nasrallah: #Hezbollah will not put forward a candidate to head any of #Lebanon’s key ministries Sayyed #Nasrallah: #Terrorism lists won’t delay formation of #Lebanese government Sayyed #Nasrallah: When they face popular #resistance, they will not be able to defeat it Sayyed #Nasrallah: Blacklisting #Hezbollah aims at scaring the allies and pushing them away from the resistance and also at drying up the #resistance's funding sources and they've been seeking this since the #1990s
Guestbook mailinglist.php arabic site french site spanish site facebook twitter rss page
News Categories » Files » Files » Selected Articles

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size  Print Page
The Dark Underside of Saudi Arabia the Crown Prince is Loath to Change
Editorial Board

One view of Saudi Arabia was on display at the just-completed World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the kingdom sought to reassure investors and show off traditional Saudi food, music and culture. The finance minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, declared, "Saudi Arabia today is different. It's not Saudi Arabia five years ago." He and other ministers extolled the "Vision 2030" blueprint for modernization championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the young go-getter who has vowed to overturn the kingdom's hidebound ways.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

But the old Saudi Arabia was still evident back at home. On Thursday, two human rights activists, Mohammed al-Otaibi and Abdullah al-Attawi, were sentenced to 14 and seven years in prison, respectively, for briefly founding a human rights organization about five years ago. No matter that they heeded the government's demands to close it; the prosecution painted such things as publishing human rights reports, disseminating information to the news media and retweeting posts on Twitter as criminal acts.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince rightly sees the need to satisfy a restless younger generation by cracking down on endemic corruption, diversifying the economy away from oil and easing the tight grip of the religious police. Women have deservedly been celebrating moves to permit them to drive and attend sports events. But beneath it all, the crown prince has been overseeing the same intolerant and brutal approach to free expression and human rights that was a trademark of his predecessors. This is a dark underside that the crown prince apparently does not want to change.

The prosecution of Mr. Otaibi and Mr. Attawi was full of absurd twists. They and two others set up the Union for Human Rights in April 2013 and issued several statements on social media. They were summoned for investigation less than a month later. They promised to close the organization. Then they applied for a formal license to open the nongovernmental organization but could not get one. Mr. Otaibi and Mr. Attawi were warned again to stop their activities in 2014, and they again pledged to do so. Then, in 2016, the case was reopened. In March 2017, Mr. Otaibi left the kingdom for Qatar, where he managed to win asylum in Norway. As he prepared to depart for Norway, he was apprehended at the Doha airport and returned to Saudi authorities. The punishment last week was imposed by the Specialized Criminal Court, the Saudi terrorism tribunal, which has often been used to punish dissidents and critics, and it was clearly designed to send a message to any others who dare advocate human rights.

All who are intrigued by the crown prince's ambitions should take note of the stubborn persistence of old thinking when it comes to liberty and rights. Raif Badawi, a blogger who envisioned a more enlightened Saudi Arabia, was imprisoned and flogged for his ideas, and remains incarcerated. The twinkling promises for overseas investors at Davos cannot mask the fact that Saudi Arabia is still what it was five years ago - a dungeon for those who dare speak out.

Source: WP, Edited by website team

29-01-2018 | 14:43


Name
E-Mail
Comment Title
Comment
Human Verification


News Coverage

Related News

Search
To Top