UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Saudi royal family members, officials and businessmen arrested in an anti-corruption crackdown this month will be granted due process, Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said on Monday.
Authorities have detained dozens of top Saudis including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a move widely seen as an attempt by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to neuter any opposition to his lightning ascent to power.
Those held face accusations of money laundering, extortion, bribery and exploiting public office for personal gain. A Saudi anti-corruption committee has been given the power to seize companies, funds and other assets ahead of criminal inquiries.
“I can assure you there will be due process for anybody who is detained,” Al-Mouallimi told reporters at the United Nations.
When asked how many people had been detained, he said: “I do not have a figure to share with you. This is something that the security authorities will announce in due course.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has endorsed the crackdown, saying some of those arrested have been “milking” Saudi Arabia for years, though the State Department has urged Riyadh to carry out prosecutions in a “fair and transparent” manner.
Human Rights Watch has also called on Saudi authorities to “immediately reveal the legal and evidentiary basis for each person’s detention and make certain that each person detained can exercise their due process rights”.
(This version of the story corrects Saudi U.N. ambassador’s name in paragraphs 1 and 4)
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish