Most detained in Saudi purge agree to financial settlement, says attorney general

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 06 December 2017

Most detained in Saudi purge agree to financial settlement, says attorney general

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Anti-Corruption Committee has subpoenaed 320 people so far, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib announced in a statement on Monday.
The committee was established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under Royal Order Number A/38 on Nov. 4, and immediately announced a swathe of arrests in a sweeping crackdown on corruption in the Kingdom.
A number of high-profile individuals were arrested, including ministers, royal family members, and prominent businessmen.
Since the committee’s last announcement on Nov. 9, Al-Mujib said additional individuals had been subpoenaed “as a result of information revealed.”
Al-Mujib revealed that “most detainees” facing corruption allegations have agreed to a settlement and that their agreements are currently being finalized.
He said that “a number of individuals” had been referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and that 159 people currently remain in detention.
“Based on evidence,” the statement read, “the Public Prosecutor’s Office decided to continue detaining a limited number of individuals and release the remaining individuals.”
The attorney general said that procedures related to the corruption cases are being carried out in two phases. The first phase, he explained, applies to those who admit to the allegations “freely and without coercion” and is based on the Royal Order’s stipulation that the committee “has the right to decide what it deems as achieving public interest, especially with those who responded positively to the Committee.”
The committee has followed internationally applied procedures, Al-Mujib said, and offered detainees the chance to agree to a settlement recouping the State’s funds and assets, thus eliminating the need for prolonged litigation.
“No detainee will be pressurized in any shape or form,” Al-Mujib said, “and each detainee has the right to refuse to settle at any time before the settlement agreement is signed.”
He also stressed that the Law of Criminal Procedures guarantees defendants’ rights, including the right to an attorney during the processes of investigation and prosecution and the right to contact and inform any person of their detention. The Law of Criminal Procedures also prohibits subjecting detainees to any harm, he added.
If a detainee reaches a settlement agreement, the committee will end litigation and issue a pardon to that individual. But any detainees who deny the allegations, or with whom a settlement cannot be reached, are referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which will continue to investigate and present its findings to the suspect, in accordance with the Law of Criminal Procedures.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office also decides on an appropriate detention period for each individual — if the evidence warrants detention — as their case is investigated. The attorney general can authorize detention of up to six months, but the relevant court can order an extension of that period.
Once the investigation is concluded, the Public Prosecutor’s Office decides if there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. If there is not, the individual is released.
Al-Mujib confirmed that the bank accounts of 376 individuals — who are either detainees or are linked to allegations of corruption — remain frozen, but stressed that the assets and corporate entities of those detained, and any rights of any other parties to such assets or corporate entities, would not be affected or disrupted.

 


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”