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Saudi sheikh arrested as part of ongoing campaign against entertainment policy critics

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Mahmoud (Twitter)

The Saudi authorities have arrested Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Mahmoud, a former faculty member of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, for criticising forms of entertainment.

Prisoners of conscious twitter account, specialised in following up the cases of prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, stated on Wednesday that Al-Mahmoud was arrested following the distribution of a part of one of the episodes of a program he was presenting in May 2017 by a number of his students.

The sheikh criticised what he called the “blasphemous,” about the General Authority for Entertainment, and warned of the danger of allowing it to corrupt society, he said.

The arrest of the Saudi sheikh came after the authorities arrested the leader of the Otaibah tribe, Faisal bin Sultan bin Jahjah bin Humaid.

The arrest of Sheikh Faisal also came against the backdrop of tweets in which he criticised the General Authority for Entertainment and its president Turki Al-Sheikh, calling for implementing entertainment events logically and acceptably without prejudice to the essence of religion and faith.

Authorities also summoned the famous poet Safar Al-Dghailbi for questioning, because of a poem that included indirect criticism of Al-Sheikh family.

Read: 5 US officials including Kushner, Mnuchin to attend Saudi financial conference

The authorities arrested the poet Hamoud bin Qasi Al-Subaie and video designer Consul bin Subaie previously, because of a video criticising the practices of the head of the General Authority for Entertainment.

The Saudi authorities continue to arrest and prosecute any critic of the activities of the General Authority for Entertainment, which conservatives see as undermining to the country’s conservative customs and traditions, and go after any person who denounces the president of the Authority, Turki Al-Sheikh.

During more than two years ago, the kingdom witnessed the arrest of hundreds of scholars, activists and jurists, who apparently tried to express their opinion and oppose the changes taking place in Saudi Arabia, amid human rights demands to reveal their fate and grant them justice.

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