Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) saw the elderly sheikh as more of a threat than an asset to his rule. On 9 September 2017, MBS ordered the arrest of al-Ouda for posting a tweet that read: ‘May God harmonize between their hearts for the good of their people’ – an apparent call for reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A year after his arrest, al-Ouda has been charged with 37 crimes, including spreading discord and incitement against the ruler.
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Soon after the coup, al-Barghouti began translating many of his poems into English with the help of his mother. Reflecting on the experience, he said that his mother alleviated the difficulty of translating emotions and myths that he prefers to convey in Arabic. “She would liberate me from this feeling I get whenever I’m speaking in English or writing in English, which is that I’m swimming in a sea of jelly,” he said.
Through her personal situation, Badawi became a symbol of anti-male guardianship’s advocacy in Saudi Arabia, and is considered to be one of the “first women to petition Saudi authorities to allow women to drive, vote and run in municipal elections.” However, Women’s rights activists are perceived as dissident voices that defy MBS’ authority and portrayed as “traitors” in high-profile campaigns in Saudi media outlets and on social media, although they bring no immediate danger to the authorities.
Merzoug Touati was arrested in Béjaïa in January 2017 and subsequently accused of ‘incitement to non-armed gathering’, ‘foreign intelligence aimed at harming diplomatic ties’ and ‘incitement to gatherings and sit-ins in public spaces’. In May 2018, he was found guilty of ‘communicating with intelligence agents of a foreign power that could be harmful for the military or diplomatic situation of Algeria or its essential economic interests’,
Erdogan has cemented his place in the history books as modern Turkey’s second-most notable ruler, but he seems determined to better that. Even after last year’s referendum, he has orchestrated a purge of elected AKP officials in cities where results from the vote were lower than expected. Loyalty to Erdogan seems to be the sole determinant of survival in this latest reshuffle of Turkish politics. If Turkey’s future seems unsure, one thing is certain: Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be at its centre.
The arrest came after al-Hawali published a book critical of the Saudi royal family. Titled Muslims and Western Civilization, the book largely denounces the West. However, it contains a chapter implying that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also referred to as MBS) is on course for a disaster. It also criticizes the ruling family for ‘wasting funds on fake projects’, calls MBS’ cosy relationship with Israel a ‘betrayal’ and condemns his rapprochement with the United States, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
In her poem, Tatour praises the Palestinian resistance against Israel. She does not live in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip; she was born in a village near Nazareth, northern Israel. The poem not only criticizes the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, it also questions Israel’s legitimacy. For example, she calls for an ‘Arab Palestine’.
In April 2018, Gemayel said he was against a budget clause he claimed would benefit Syrian refugees looking to settle in Lebanon. Article 50 of the 2018 state budget grants residency to foreign nationals who buy an apartment of at least $500,000 in Beirut and $330,000 elsewhere. Gemayel has taken a similar stance on Palestinian refugees, opposing a proposal that would allow them to work and own property, saying it would be the first step to naturalizing them and therefore unconstitutional.