Saudi Arabia Names New Ministers Close to Powerful Crown Prince

04 June, 2018, 15:05 | Author: Carlos George
  • Vogue cover of Saudi princess behind wheel spurs controversy

Among those detained since May 15 are Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef and Eman al-Nafjan, according to people with knowledge of the arrests who've spoken to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions.

Without naming anyone, the public prosecutor's office said the number of detainees stood at 17, adding that eight of them had been "temporarily released" until the investigation is completed.

Rights groups earlier reported arrests of at least 11 people last month, mostly identified as women campaigners for the right to drive and to end the conservative Islamic country's male guardianship system.

The nine others - five men and four women - are now being held in custody after enough evidence was brought forward and their confessions to the charges against them.

AQAP in southern Yemen is the target of a long-running drone campaign by the United States, which regards it as the most risky branch of the extremist group.

The United Nations has called on the kingdom to provide details of those arrested and ensure their legal rights are guaranteed. Iran and Saudi are fierce rivals in the Middle East with both countries vying for influence in the region, including in Lebanon and Yemen.

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The decision to lift a ban on women driving in the kingdom, set to come into force on 24 June, has been hailed as proof of a progressive trend. But the recent arrests have soured that image.

The Vogue Arabia issue also features other "inspirational" Saudi women, including women's rights activist Manal al-Sharif and Saja Kamal, a footballer working to establish the kingdom's first women's team.

Saudi Arabia has been turning heads for a while now, thanks to its initiatives undertaken for the upliftment of women in the country. The terms of the release were unclear.

Reports in state-backed media branded some of the detainees traitors and "agents of embassies". It may also be a message to activists not to push demands out of sync with the government's own agenda, they said.

"Prime Minister May and the crown prince noted the importance of stability in the oil markets, which they said was in the interests of both consumers and producers", a statement said.

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