Fri Sep 2, 2011
Saudi Princess Basma bint Saud has accused the Riyadh regime of corruption, saying a vast majority of the Persian Gulf country’s population are living in poverty, Press TV has learnt.
The princess, a niece of King Abdullah and a social activist and prominent supporter of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, has said that some 95 percent of the country live below the country’s poverty-line and have no access to water and electricity.
This is while the remaining five percent enjoy the country’s wealth.
She also accused Saudi officials of pocketing more than USD 21 billion that were supposed to be invested in order to expand the holy mosque in Mecca.
Mohammad al-Qahtani, the head of the Saudi Civil and political Rights Association, confirmed the allegations, saying that the country’s princes possess all the power and wealth in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Qahtani further accused the regime of holding thousands of political prisoners without charging them.
Saudi Arabia has long been accused of having one of the world’s most repressive regimes.
Several right groups and international bodies including the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have frequently condemned the Saudi regime for their widespread violation of human rights.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women, both Saudi and foreign nationals, from driving.
The state has no written ban on women driving, but Saudi law requires citizens to use a locally issued license while in the country. Such licenses are not issued for women, making it effectively illegal for them to drive.
Women are also barred from voting, except for chamber of commerce elections in two cities in recent years, while no woman can become a cabinet member.
Less than three months ago, the princess had called on Saudi rulers to be more open to change, stressing that no Arab country is immune to the wave of popular movements in the region.