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Pressure mounts for release of jailed Saudi Prince

Pressure mounts for release of jailed Saudi PrincePressure mounts for release of jailed Saudi Prince
Highlights

A $2 million US lobbying effort and petitions from European lawmakers are piling pressure on Saudi Arabia to release a philanthropist prince jailed for two years without charge amid an intensifying royal crackdown

London: A $2 million US lobbying effort and petitions from European lawmakers are piling pressure on Saudi Arabia to release a philanthropist prince jailed for two years without charge amid an intensifying royal crackdown.

The detention of Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz and his father since January 2018 is part of a clampdown under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that has ensnared not just potential rivals but also figures posing no visible challenge to his hold on power.

The dangerous power plays have also swept up family members of Saad Aljabri, a former aide to another detained prince and top intelligence official, who fled to Canada and holds key state secrets.

The most unlikely target is Prince Salman, a multilingual 37-year-old educated at Paris's Sorbonne University, who apparently espoused no political ambitions and earned a reputation of being a "walking blank check" for funding development projects in poor countries.

"This is not just an unlawful arrest," an associate of the prince told AFP. "This is daylight kidnapping. This is a forced disappearance.

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