Saudi dissidents form pro-democracy political group

Saudi dissidents form pro-democracy political group


Dubai: A group of Saudi political dissidents, most of whom are in exile, announced the formation of a political party on Wednesday to overthrow Saudi Arabia’s political reforms while ignoring the de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has shaken Smash any dissidents.

The world’s largest oil exporter and the US allies are absolute monarchy countries with no elected parliaments or political parties. Past attempts to organize political organizations in Gulf countries in 2007 and 2011 were suppressed and members were arrested.

The National Assembly Party (NAAS) manifesto calls for the establishment of an elected parliament and constitutional guarantees to ensure the separation of the legislative, judicial and executive branches.

“The scope for politics has become blocked in all directions,” it said, calling for peaceful change to combat state “violence and repression.”

The Saudi Government Communications Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Saudi authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of abuse by human rights organizations.

King Salman underwent surgery in July and he delegated most of his duties to his 34-year-old son and heir, who became the crown prince in the 2017 coup and consolidation of power.

Prince Mohammed was initially known at home and abroad for his bold reforms to open the kingdom and diversify its economy, but his image in the West was affected by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s Istanbul consulate in 2018. damage.

A Saudi court sentenced eight people to seven to twenty years in prison for murder. Saudi officials denied that Prince Mohammed played a role, but in September 2019, he expressed some personal responsibility and said that “things happened under my supervision.”

The reforms he promoted were accompanied by the detention of priests, activists and intellectuals, and the secret purges of the royal family and other well-known Saudis, including alleged corruption and rivals to the throne.

“The timing is very important … the climate of repression is only increasing,” party member and academic Madawi al-Rasheed told Reuters. She said NAAS would work with international organisations like the United Nations and human rights groups, without agitating for protests in the kingdom.

Saudi experts said that although Prince Mohammed aroused dissatisfaction among some members of the royal family, he was supported by others and security agencies and was popular among Saudi youth.

Party members include Yahya Assiri, head of UK-based Saudi rights group ALQST, Abdullah al-Awdah, son of jailed Islamist preacher Salman al-Awdah, prominent scholar Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi and Shi ite activist Ahmed al-Mshikhs. Abdullah al-Awdah told Reuters NAAS aimed to create a national movement by working with “everybody from inside and outside the royal family”. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Gulf team; Editing by William Maclean)

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