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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Samah Hadid, the deputy director of Amnesty International, said that most human rights activists in the country were either in prison or on trial, their whereabouts still undisclosed. The others, she added, risk arrest at any time. MBS is clearly remaking Saudi Arabia in his image, while proving to be just as authoritarian as the rulers before him.