Saudi attorney general: 11 princes arrested for refusing to pay utility bills

A battalion of the Saudi Royal Guard arrested 11 princes who gathered at the Riyadh Ruling Palace after a royal order was issued for their arrest following their refusal to leave the palace. Qassar Al-Hokum (Ruling Palace) main Hall in Riyadh.
Updated 08 January 2018
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Saudi attorney general: 11 princes arrested for refusing to pay utility bills

JEDDAH: Eleven Saudi princes who gathered at the Government Palace demanding the cancellation of the royal decree on the suspension of the payment of electricity and water bills by the royals were arrested, Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib said in a statement on Saturday.
“The princes also demanded financial compensation for the death sentence against one of their cousins. They were informed of their wrong approach, but they refused to leave the site. A royal directive was issued to arrest them and they were sent to Al-Hair prison, pending trial,” said the statement.
“We emphasize here that the royal directives are clear that all citizens are equal before the law, and those who fail to abide by the regulations and instructions will be held accountable whoever they are,” said the statement.
The statement confirms earlier reports carried by local online newspaper Sabq. The website has reported that a battalion of the Saudi Royal Guard arrested 11 princes who gathered at the Riyadh Ruling Palace for the same reasons that were later mentioned in the attorney general’s statement.
After being informed that their demands to be exempted from paying the bills were rejected, the princes refused to leave the palace and, hence, the Royal Guard was ordered to intervene and detain them.
Ever since King Salman ascended to the throne in 2015, he has introduced measures that ensured that members of the royal family are held equally accountable before the law.
He approved of the beheading of a prince who killed a member of the public.
In a TV interview, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — who is credited with the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 — made it clear that the country’s reform plans will not tolerate corruption, nor will they allow anyone, regardless of their status or position, to receive a special treatment when it comes to paying utility bills.
 


Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018
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Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.