On Saturday 6 January 11 princes were detained after gathering at al-Hakem palace in Riyadh to demonstrate against a government decision to make the country’s royalty pay their utility bills.
Upon arrest, they were sent to a notorious maximum-security facility south of Riyadh in contrast to dozens of other high-profile figures who were detained in a luxury hotel last year during an anti-corruption drive.
The princes are expected to go on trial.
“The 11 individuals officially were arrested because they were complaining about the fact that they had asked for subsidies for water and electricity, and for some reason they were denied,” said analyst Joseph Kechichian.
“Other reports say that in fact they were cousins of a prince who was executed in October 2016 and that they had come to ask for retribution,” he added. “It’s very conflicting at this point, we don’t know exactly what is going on.”