Saudi writer and journalist Jamal Khashoggi said the comments made by the recently-released-prisoners who where held capitative in the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh have proved that the move was not about corruption.
Through his personal account in Twitter, Khashoggi wrote: “Statements made by the Ritz-Carlton residents who have been released such as ‘nothing happened’, ‘I was in a family reunion’, ‘I was summoned to resolve a misunderstanding’, or ‘I was needed for advise’, must stop because they callenge the official rationale.”
Khashoggi’s tweet came days after the Saudi authorities released billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal after being arrested for about three months along with other princes on charges the authorities stated are related to corruption, a step which indicates a close ending of the princes’ detention in the hotel in Riyadh.
A senior Saudi government source told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the rich businessman had reached a “settlement” with the authorities in exchange for his release, without specifying the nature of the settlement.
Al-Waleed’s release came hours after the release of other prominent detainees, including the owner of MBC group, Waleed Al Ibrahim, and two former officials who are Khaled Al Tuwaijry, former Chief of the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia, and Prince Turki bin Nasser, the former head of the presidency of Meteorology and Environment Board in Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with Reuters before his release, Al-Waleed described reasons for his arrest saying: “There are no charges (against him). There are only discussions between me and the government. Be sure that this is a clean process and we are only discussing with the government about several matters I cannot reveal now. But be sure that at the end of the whole story, I feel very relieved that I am in my country and in my city, so I feel like I am at home. There is no problem at all. Everything is fine”.
The Saudi billionaire denied being tortured in Al-Ha’ir Prison, saying “I have seen news on BBC and other channels saying that Al-Waleed was transferred somewhere else, to central prison, and that he was tortured. They are all lies. this is very unfortunate”.
Al-Waleed bin Talal rejected any accusations of corruption, saying “Many have come out of here (the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh) without any charges at all. It is obvious that the reason behind this is my participation in many projects locally, regionally and internationally, I have so many interests. Therefore, I told them: Please … take your time. Check everything. I have nothing to hide. Everything is perfectly fine. Check everything and when you are done, everything will be done.”