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Accused of “collaboration with the enemy”, three Saudi soldiers were executed on Saturday for “high treason”, according to the Saudi Ministry of Defense. Seeking to consolidate his power in the kingdom, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has led a relentless crackdown for three years against any dissent or potential rivals.
Three Saudi soldiers were executed on Saturday April 10 for “high treason”, the Saudi Defense Ministry announced, accusing them of “collaboration with the enemy”. The three soldiers wanted to “destabilize the kingdom and its military interests,” the ministry said in a statement reproduced by the official press agency, SPA.
The three men, who were executed near the border with Yemen, have been identified as Mohammed bin Ahmed, Shaher bin Issa and Hamoud bin Ibrahim – but the “enemy” they are accused of collaborating with has failed. not been named.
These executions take place while Riyadh steps up military campaign in neighboring Yemen and that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks to consolidate his power.
“Trust in the loyal armed forces who sacrificed their blood”
Saudi Arabia intervenes since 2015 in the civil war in Yemen at the head of a military coalition in support of the government against the Yemeni Houthi rebels, close to Iran and who have taken control of much of the north of the country and the capital Sana’a.
The Saudi kingdom faces an increase in missile and drone attacks on its territory, as fighting escalates between government forces and Yemeni rebels for control of Marib, a strategic oil region in Yemen which the Houthis are seeking to s ‘take hold since February.
Fighting in this last government stronghold in northern Yemen has left at least 53 dead on both sides in 24 hours, according to military officials from the government camp, with rebels continuing their offensive despite calls for a truce.
In its statement on Saturday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense reiterated its “confidence in the loyal armed forces which have sacrificed their blood to preserve the security and stability of this homeland and its holy places”.
Relentless crackdown on dissent
Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salman, also known by his initials “MBS”, is also seeking to consolidate his power.
Aged 35, he is already perceived as the de facto ruler of the oil kingdom where he holds the positions of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense – the Deputy Minister being his younger brother, Khaled -, special adviser to the sovereign and and finally president of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.
Over the past three years he has led a relentless crackdown on any dissent or potential rivals in Saudi Arabia, including waves of arrests in religious, intellectual, economic, civil society and even within the royal family.
In March 2020, the brother and nephew of King Salman, Princes Ahmed and Mohammed ben Nayef, were arrested according to several sources. Mohammed ben Nayef was removed from the throne in 2017.
The authorities have not publicly commented on their detention.
An absolute monarchy and the largest Arab economy, Saudi Arabia has long been criticized for being one of the countries in the world carrying out the most executions and for its judicial system, deemed opaque by human rights defenders.
But this year, the Human Rights Commission, a government body, reported a dramatic drop in executions in 2020. The Commission says it recorded 27 executions in 2020, an 85% drop from the previous year. due in particular to a moratorium on the death penalty for drug-related offenses.