Prince Abdullah bin Saud bin Mohammed Al Saud has lost his position as president of the Maritime Sports Federation after criticising the government’s arrest of 11 princes who took part in a sit-down protest.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi General Authority for Sports, Turki Al-Sheikh, said on Tuesday that Abdullah was to be sacked.
The move came after a leaked audio recording emerged in which the prince calls the government’s publicly stated reasons for arresting the 11 other princes “false” and “illogical”.
The princes had been arrested last week, after taking part in a small protest outside a royal palace against cuts to payments of royal utility bills.
The attorney general said that the 11 princes were informed that their demands were unlawful, but they “refused to leave the area, disrupting public peace and order”.
Prince Abdullah criticised the government and denied the official story from Saudi authorities regarding the arrest of the princes, leading him to get sacked from his position.
The six-minute-long recording, obtained by Bloomberg, reveals tensions within the ruling family nearly seven months after King Salman’s 32-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sidelined a rival cousin to become heir.
State-linked Saudi news websites Sabq and Okaz reported on Tuesday that Prince Abdullah had been fired from his position and replaced by Major General Hamad bin Me’id al-Ja’id, who served as a member of the federation’s board, due to the recording.