Policemen stand outside al Rajhi Mosque in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 11, 2011..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Saudi Arabia has imposed travel bans on the family of prominent Saudi cleric Salman al-Awda after holding him without charges for four months, according to a report that advocacy group Human Rights Watch released on Sunday.
Al-Awda was detained on September 7, 2017. According to a family member, two men arrived at his home, said they were from State Security, searched the house and detained al-Awda without a warrant.
The family member believes that authorities detained al-Awda for refusing to tweet a message in support of the isolation of Qatar, led by the Saudi regime.
Al-Awda has reportedly been held in solitary confinement without charges or questioning and has only been allowed one 13-minute phone call since his detention, said the family member.
In addition, authorities detained al-Awda's brother after he tweeted about the detention of his brother.
Saudi authorities then imposed travel bans on 17 members of al-Awda's family for an unspecified reason. They were not told of the ban and only discovered that it was in place when one of the family members attempted to leave the country. He was told by immigration officials that the royal court had placed travel bans on the family.
According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has frequently used travel bans and detention on Saudi citizens over the past several years. The latest round of detentions, part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's alleged fight against corruption and attempt to reshape the Saudi government, has raised concern among rights organizations.
On September 12, Saudi officials confirmed a crackdown against people they felt were endangering the security of Saudi Arabia. This was followed by another wave of arrests in November, some of those detained include well-known clerics and writers.
Activists have compiled and distributed a list of over 60 people being held.
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