Saudi Arabia arrests princes, ex-ministers: report

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 05 2017 08:23 AM

Saudi Arabia arrests 10 princes and dozens of former ministers following a political crackdown in September as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured), set to be the first millennial to occupy the Saudi throne, cements his grip on power. Fayez Nureldine, AFP

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's newly formed anti-corruption commission arrested 10 princes and dozens of former government ministers on Saturday, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported, citing unnamed sources.

The arrests came soon after the commission, headed by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was established by royal decree.

"Arrest of 10 princes and dozens of former ministers in Saudi Arabia," Al Arabiya tweeted.

There was no official confirmation of the arrests.

The 32-year-old crown prince, often known as MBS, is set to be the first millennial to occupy the throne in a country where half the population is under 25, though the timing of his ascension remains unknown.

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, from defense to the economy, Prince Mohammed is widely seen to be stamping out traces of internal dissent before a formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father King Salman.

In September the authorities arrested about 2 dozen people, including influential clerics, in what activists denounced as a coordinated crackdown.

Analysts said many of those detained were resistant to Prince Mohammed's aggressive foreign policy that includes the boycott of Gulf neighbor Qatar as well as some of his bold policy reforms, including privatizing state assets and cutting subsidies.