Riyadh: Prince Turki (47) bin Abdullah is locked away, he was once a golden scion of Saudi Arabia gilded royal family, a prominent son of former king Abdullah and a fighter pilot with advanced degrees who trained in the United States and Britain. Turki, whom officials have reportedly accused of scion related to the construction of the Riyadh subway, remains detained without any formal charges.
His chief of staff, Gen. Ali al Qahtani was also arrested and died in detention under circumstances that have never been fully explained. Turki was the most powerful governor of Riyadh province, the chief executive of the multibillion-dollar King Abdullah Foundation, which funds charitable work around the world.
It has said that Turki is now among an unknown number of super – wealthy Saudis who remain detained a full after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman startled his country by turning Riyadh’s posh Ritz-Carlton hotel into a 5-star jail for some of the nations most prominent citizens in what he called an anti-corruption sweep.
Hence, in an interview last month Mohammed said that only eight men were still detained. He offered no other details, except to say “ they are with their lawyers and facing the system that we have in Saudi Arabia. But other people familiar with the detentions said that the number is much higher, with 45 Ritz detainees still locked up.
Prince Khaled Bin Talal, 56 a cousin of Mohammed and Prince Turki, released by Saudi authorities one of those may have won his freedom. Khaled is a businessman and noted religious conservative who reportedly against the Crown prince decision to sack power from the country notorious police.
The other analysts and Human rights said that Mohammed may be preparing to release more of some detainees to help cool the international furor over the killing of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2. The murder of Khashoggi was inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the hands of Saudi agents has drawn relations with Washington and Europe and draw attention to the crown price human rights practices, including his record of locking up scores of his critics.
A Saudi Human rights activist living in self-exile in London Yahya Assiri has said: “ they do not want to do it, but they are under pressure and they will do it to release some pressure.” Mr. Assiri also said that he cautioned against overstating the importance of the release of Prince Khaled, advising it was mainly done to shore up support for Mohammed within the royal family at a time when the crown prince and his father, the current monarch, King Salman, are under stress.
Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher for Human Rights who closely monitors the kingdoms says “ I think this is trying to show family unity in the face of scrutiny”
One of the close to the Saudi Royal family has said “ It is about money and power. Mohammed bin Salman understands that if you take away their money, you away from their power”
According to the accounts from family, friends and human rights groups mentioned “ Faced with long detentions or other punishment, some of the Ritz detainees agreed to hand over the demanded cash, which often amounted to most of their net worth.
Mohammed has been applauded as many Saudis and foreign observers for what they view as a long-overdue calculation for the clubby culture of royals and well-connected families, who have long treated Saudi Arabia’s land, oil, and riches as their own.
As per the reports and detentions and at the Ritz as a brutal move by Mohammed to settle scores hits personal power. Though critics have said that the explanation fits with his record of arresting scores of human rights and women’s rights activists and even clerics who disagree with his policies.
In addition, the officials of Saudi strongly deny anyone has been tortured: one official said that “ that is not who we are. We do not torture. That word has never been in our vocabulary in Saudi Arabia”
- According to the media reports, those being detained and accounts from family member friends, and other close to the royal family include:-
- Adel Fakeih 59, the former mayor of Jeddah and former minister of economy and planning.
- Walid Fitaihi 54 a prominent physician who hosted a popular television show dealing with health and wellness, founded a hospital in Jeddah and holds American citizenship.
- Amr al Dabbagh 52, chairman of the Jiddah-based AI- Dabbagh Group and former head of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, one of the top economic positions in the country.
- Amr al- Dabbagh 52 chairman of the Jeddah-based Al-Dabbagh Group and former head of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, one of the top economic positions in the country.
- As per the Forbes, Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi 72, a Saudi-Ethiopian businessman who had a net worth of $8.1 billion last year from his diversified interest in a Swedish oil refinery, Saudi gas stations and an Ethiopian conglomerate involved in gold mining, farming, and construction.
- Bakr Bin Laden, Jeddah- based Chairman of the powerful Saudi Binladin Group, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate, has been one of country most successful and influential companies