Saudi regime urged to release detained clerics

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Saudi regime is under pressure to immediately release several clerics arrested in renewed crackdown on dissent in the authoritarian monarchy.

On Sunday, the Saudi security forces detained a number of Muslim scholars and famous preachers, including Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda, Awad Al-Qarni and Ali Al-Omar.

More arrests continued on Monday leading to the detention of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Harithi, Sheikh Mohamed Al-Khodairi, Hassan Farhan, Gharm Al-Beeshi and others.

While the names of all those detained have not been made public, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd is rumored to be among the detained. The multi-billionaire prince was a key ally to the late King Abdullah, but had largely been politically isolated in recent years.

Leading Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi expressed outrage on Twitter following the arrests saying it is unimaginable that Sheikhs Awad Al-Qarni and Salman Al-Ouda have been arrested.

Activists say those arrested have largely stayed silent about the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar thus infuriating the authorities in Riyadh. The detained clerics have apparently failed to give religious legitimacy to the action against Qatar.

Several Muslim scholars in Saudi Arabia and other regional countries are pressurizing the Saudi regime to unconditionally release the detained clerics.

Reports of the arrests coincided with widespread speculation that King Salman intends to abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Mohammed. Officials in Riyadh have denied such a plan exists.

Meanwhile Exiled Saudi opposition activists have called for protests on 15 September intended to galvanize opposition to the royal family.

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