Riyadh: As part of an ongoing campaign to silence dissidents in the kingdom, Saudi Arabia has taken a prominent religious scholar Safar al-Hawali and three of his sons, activists into custody on Wednesday. Reuters with reference to London-based Saudi rights group ALQST stated that the arrests happened after Hawali published a book critical of the Saudi royal family.
According to sources, Hawali is a leading figure in Saudi Arabia’s Sahwa (Awakening) movement, which opposes the presence of US troops in the Arabian Peninsula. In the 1990s he was also sent to prison for opposing the Saudi ties with US troops leading a military operation in Kuwait. In 1993, the Saudi government banned him from public speaking and dismissed from his academic posts on suspicion of attempting to incite civil disobedience. He was arrested and soon released in 1994.