The Saudi regime seems to have gone totally berserk. While its policies under crown prince Muhammad bin Salman are completely erratic, in recent week a pattern has emerged that shows that the regime has become even more vicious and brutal.
Amid reports of large scale arrests and deaths under torture in detention, the Saudi Arabic daily, Okaz reported today (September 4) that prosecutors in the medieval kingdom have demanded the death penalty for Shaykh Salman al Awda.
They have leveled 37 charges against the prominent Shaykh and demanded his execution.
Arrested exactly a year ago (September 7, 2017), Shaykh Awda has been held in solitary confinement without charge or trial until now. The regime has also banned members of his family from traveling.
On August 15, Shaykh Salman’s son, Abdullah al Awda, reported that his father had been moved from Dhehban prison in Jeddah to al Ha’ir prison in Riyadh for secret trial.
The prison authorities, however, would not give him any information saying the matter was in the hands of the “security authorities.”
Tuesday’s announcement confirms the family’s worst fears. But what precisely is Shaykh Salman’s crime?
A family member told Human Rights Watch that the prominent scholar was arrested and held for his refusal to comply with an order by the Saudi regime to tweet a specific text to support the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
Instead, the Shaykh posted a tweet saying, “May God harmonize [relations] between their hearts for the good of their people.” To even pray for reconciliation between Muslims is considered a crime in the medieval kingdom.
Whatever policy Bin Salman chooses, however idiotic and destructive even for Saudi Arabia, must be supported otherwise it would incur the crown prince’s wrath.
Shaykh Salman is the assistant secretary-general of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, which the Riyadh regime has listed as a terrorist organization. Its head is the Egyptian scholar Shaykh Yusuf al Qardawi. He is also banned by the Saudi regime and lives in Doha, Qatar.
Shaykh Salman al Awda has been prevented from communicating with the outside world since last October.
Mass arrests, death under torture and demanding the death penalty in kangaroo courts are sure signs of the regime’s extreme nervousness.
The more it oppresses people and executes them, including prominent scholars, the more it hastens the day of its demise.