First Published: 2010-12-06

 

No country for criticism: Saudi professor arrested after writing about conflict within royal family

 

Law professor Mohammed al-Abdulkarim held after article critical of monarchy.

 

Middle East Online

The message: Non of your business

RIYADH - A Saudi law professor was arrested after publishing an article on a website critical of the country's ruling royal family, a human rights group said Monday.

Mohammed al-Abdulkarim, was arrested at his Riyadh home on Sunday by four men, variously wearing civilian clothes and uniforms, the Human Rights First Society of Saudi Arabia (HRFS) said.

Abdulkarim, 40, teaches jurisprudence at Imam Mohammed bin Saud University, the country's leading Islamic university, according to HRFS and a Facebook page set up to defend him.

"His arrest was illegal on two counts," said HRFS head Ibrahim Mugaiteeb.

Abdulkarim was taken without a court warrant for his arrest, and has been held for 24 hours without charge, Mugaiteeb said.

The arrest came after the Arabic website royaah.net published an article under Abdulkarim's name dated November 23 that suggested there were conflicts in the ruling Al-Saud royal family, and asked what that would mean for the country.

Abdulkarim's article came a day after 86-year-old King Abdullah departed Riyadh for the United States for an operation to treat a herniated disc in his back.

The country's number two, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, believed to be 84-85, returned from his overseas residence in Morocco to stand in for Abdullah in his absence.

The health and age of the country's leading princes has drawn more attention to the issues of royal succession in recent weeks.

The Saudi government often takes strong action against public criticism of the monarchy, and blocks access to many foreign internet websites with critical articles on the royal family.

However, as of Monday afternoon, the royaah.net website was not blocked by the Saudi government censor.

 

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