Detained Saudi prince 'hospitalised after heart attack', Saudi Arabia says in later-deleted tweet

Detained Saudi prince 'hospitalised after heart attack', Saudi Arabia says in later-deleted tweet
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was accused of treason and detained in March as part of a new purge by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
2 min read
11 May, 2020
The former crown prince is considered a potential challenger to MbS [Getty]
A since-deleted tweet by Saudi Arabia's Prisons Authority appears to confirm the detention of a high-ranking royal and suggest that the prince has been hospitalised after "suffering a heart attack" in prison.

Former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was detained earlier this year after being accused of treason, The Wall Street Journal reported in March. Also detained in the royal purge were Nayef's younger brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef, and Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a brother of King Salman.

Saudi Arabia has not officially confirmed their detention, making a tweet by the kingdom's Prisons Authority over the weekend - later deleted - all the more puzzling when it said the former crown prince had been transferred to hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The tweet denied the death of the former interior minister and said a medical team was attending to his care around the clock.

The post was later removed and replaced by a tweet stating the security of the Prison Authority's account had been breached, suggesting a hack.

A number of activists have suggested that, rather than a hack, the tweet was aimed at paving the way for the senior royal's death.

Read more: Mohammed bin Salman has a problem his royal purge can't solve

A Twitter account with more than 100,000 followers calling itself "Mohammed bin Nayef's advisor" alleged in a series of posts that the kingdom's crown prince and de-facto leader Mohammed bin Salman sought to see bin Nayef dead as a result of 'medical negligence'.

"But after news leaked to the family that the prince's health was deteriorating, MbS was forced to allow the medical team to treat him," it reported.

"Is this to pave the way for getting rid of bin Nayef while in custody?" asked another Twitter account under the name of Turki Shalhoub.

Bin Nayef, who served as minister of interior between 2012 and 2017, became crown prince shortly after the accession to the throne of King Salman in 2015.

Before serving taking up his father's mantle in the Interior Ministry, the senior royal led a crackdown on the Al-Qaeda extremist group.

He was replaced two years later in a major shake-up when King Salman took to the throne and paved the way for MbS' rise to power.

The former interior minister was reportedly placed under house arrest not long after his dismissal, a claim denied by Saudi authorities.

His detention alongside princes Nawaf bin Nayef and Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud has cast aside the last vestiges of potential opposition to bin Salman, who is widely known by the moniker MbS.

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