Riyadh: Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of senior figures, including princes, ministers and a top business tycoon, with authorities on Sunday pledging “fair” justice after a sweeping purge seen as consolidating the crown prince’s hold on power.
“The suspects are being granted the same rights and treatment as any other Saudi citizen,” attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement, adding that a number of investigations had been initiated.
“A suspect’s position or status does not influence the firm and fair application of justice,” he said.
“With this (crackdown), the kingdom heralds a new era and policy of transparency, clarity and accountability,” finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan was quoted as saying by SPA. “The decisive decisions will preserve the investment environment and boost trust in the rule of law.”
The kingdom’s top council of clerics also lauded the anti-corruption efforts as “important”, essentially giving religious backing to the crackdown.
An aviation source said that security forces had grounded private jets at airports, possibly to prevent high-profile figures from leaving the country.
“The breadth and scale of the arrests appears to be unprecedented in modern Saudi history,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. It follows a wave of arrests of influential clerics and activists in September Prince Mohammed cements his grip.