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UK MPs launch probe to locate ex-Saudi Crown Prince Bin Nayef

October 7, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef of Saudi Arabia addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 21, 2016 in New York City [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

A group of British MPs and international lawyers have launched an investigation into the enforced disappearance and detention of former Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Nayef and Prince Ahmed Bin Abdul. The whereabouts of the two princes are still unknown more than six months after they went missing. They have reportedly been denied access to legal advice, medical care and communication with their family members. The investigation, headed by a cross party group of MPs, has submitted a request to the Saudi government to be granted permission to visit the royals.

The group hosted a virtual discussion this afternoon on the formation of a fact-finding panel to investigate the fate of the detainees. A press release was also issued outlining full details of the investigation.

Saudi authorities detained Bin Nayef in March and he is being held along with two other senior royals in an undisclosed location. The former crown prince was ousted from the post in what many have said was a “palace coup” carried out by current Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman which led to Bin Nayef being held under house arrest.

A cross-party group of British MPs and international lawyers have formed a panelrequesting the right to visit the Former Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Nayef and Prince AhmedBin Abdul-Aziz who have been detained at an unknown location for over six months.

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Both Princes have reportedly been denied access to legal advice, medical care and communication with their family members after being suddenly detained and disappeared in March 2020.

The Panel will seek to establish the detention conditions and treatment of the Princes and other key political figures detained in the region.

They will amalgamate their findings and publish them in a written report.Following a request made to the Saudi Government to be given access and information on thewhereabouts of the Princes, the Saudi Embassy invited the chair of the panel, Crispin Blunt MP, for an informal meeting in London.

The outcome of this meeting can be discussed at an online Press Conference to be held at 4 pm on Wednesday October 7th 2020

The Fact Finding Panel’s members are:

  •  Crispin Blunt MP (Con), former Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs  Committee, and former Under-Secretary of State for Prisons – Chair of the Fact  Finding Panel
  •  Layla Moran MP (Lib Dem), Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International  Development
  •  Imran Ahmad Khan MP (Con), Former Special Assistant for Political Affairs in  Mogadishu.
  •  Tim Moloney QC of Doughty Street Chambers and Haydee Dijkstal of 33 Bedford Row  who are the Panel’s legal advisers.
  •  The independent Panel is constituted by Bindmans LLP

Speaking at the press conference, Crispin Blunt MP, Chair of the panel said:

“Our panel has submitted a request to the Saudi Embassy in London for their assistance in  organising a visit to the former Crown Prince Nayef and Prince Abdul Aziz in order to  establish the conditions of their detention. We have requested a visit to review the  conditions under which they are being held along with permission to carry out an  independent medical evaluation of their current health. Following an initial meeting with  me, the Saudi Ambassador to the UK has agreed to meet our panel in full more formally  next week. We are hopeful the Saudi Government will cooperate with us, recognising the  opportunity to address difficult issues around administration of justice and the Kingdom’s  reputation.

We are conscious that our panel meets at a time when the leaders of the largest economies  were due to be hosted in Riyadh later this year. Even though this meeting is now on-line in  holding the Presidency of the G20 it is crucial that Saudi Arabia is meets its international  obligations with regards to the way it treats activists and opposition groups.

We are hopeful that with the cooperation of the Saudi authorities and access to the named  detainees we might at least be able to report on the actual situation of political detainees  and activists working to improve the overall human rights in the Kingdom. We also hope to  find that the treatment of the persons identified in our review is consistent with the

relevant parts of both Saudi and international law”.

Tayab Ali, Partner at Bindmans, commented:

“My clients are concerned with the manner in which Saudi Arabia complies with its human rights obligations. Political activists that promote values of democracy and human rights in the country are at risk of arbitrary detention and mistreatment when in detention. The UN Special Rapporteur’s report into the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi 2 years ago, demonstrates how dangerous Saudi Arabia can be for pro-democratic activists. It is vital Saudi Arabia’s compliance with human rights is high on the Agenda at the G20 meeting later this year and this opportunity to improve the situation for human rights activists in Saudi Arabia is not lost”.

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