AGENCIES, Riyadh: Saudi authorities have detained three princes including King Salman’s brother and nephew on charges of plotting a coup, the US media reported, signalling a further consolidation of power by the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
The detentions cast aside the last vestiges of potential opposition to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and come as the kingdom limits access to Islam’s holiest sites in a highly sensitive move to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus.
Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a brother of King Salman, and the monarch’s nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef were accused of treason and taken from their homes early on Friday by black-clad royal guards, the Wall Street Journal reported citing unnamed sources.
The Saudi royal court has accused the two men, once potential contenders for the throne, of “plotting a coup to unseat the king and crown prince” and could face lifetime imprisonment or execution, the newspaper said.
The New York Times also reported the detentions, adding that Prince Nayef’s younger brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef, had also been detained.