Soon after Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, was appointed Saudi crown prince in 2017, prominent Muslim leader Sheikh Salman al-Awdah was arrested, allegedly for his refusal to tweet in support of the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
In September 2018, prosecutors applied for him to be sentenced to death.
UpFront speaks with Awdah’s son, Abdullah Alaoudh, who is based in the United States and is a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University.
“The charges [against Salman al-Awdah] actually represent how the state would crack down on any different view and, on any person who disagrees,” says Alaoudh.
“The same ‘rogue operation’ is going on for dissidents abroad, for those who disagree at home, for journalists, economists – public figures in general.”
Asked whether he thinks Saudi would really execute one of its top Muslim scholars, Alaoudh refers to the Khashoggi murder and says “it’s a pattern. It did not start with my father; it did not start with Jamal Khashoggi. It’s a pattern that we have seen through the past one-and-a-half years since the crown prince came to power. They did everything in their power to silence others, to crack down on dissent.”
Saudi Arabia is now seeking the death penalty for five people accused of the gruesome murder of journalist Khashoggi.
“At some point I thought it’s very difficult for the state to … reach dissidents abroad,” says Alaoudh. “But now, after what happened to Jamal Khashoggi the message the state sent is that everyone is threatened, ‘ we can reach everyone everywhere’.”
Source: Al Jazeera News