Eleven Saudi princes face trial after their arrest at a sit-in protesting having to pay their utility bills, authorities said Sunday, as the monarchy pursues reforms amid hefty debt and high unemployment.
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general said “no one is above the law” after the princes were detained outside a palace in Riyadh, where they had gathered last week to demonstrate against a government decision to stop paying the water and electricity bills of royals.
They also demanded compensation for a death sentence issued against one of their cousins, convicted of murder and executed in 2016, attorney general Saud al-Mojeb said.
They have been charged on “a number of counts” and are being held at the maximum security Al-Hayer prison south of Riyadh, he said.
“A group of 11 princes staged a sit-in at the historic Qasr Al-Hokm palace on Thursday… objecting a recent royal order that halted payments by the state to members of the royal family to cover their electricity and water utility bills,” the attorney general said.
“Despite being informed that their demands are not lawful, the 11 princes refused to leave the area, disrupting public peace and order”.
The names of the 11 princes have not been made public.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a political and economic shake-up, marked by the sudden appointment of the king’s son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince in June.
Prince Mohammed, who sidelined his cousin as heir to the throne, has since consolidated his grip on the kingdom’s economy in a meteoric rise in the royal court.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )