The Saudi regime has reportedly arrested nine university professors for their alleged links to the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Saudi based Okaz daily reported Monday that regime investigators found the professors, two Saudis and the rest from neighboring countries, had been involved with “foreign organizations” based on “voice recordings and emails” linked to them.
It identified the organization as the Muslim Brotherhood, designated by Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry in March as a “terror” group, following a similar move by Egypt’s military-installed government.
The investigation should be completed by mid-June, said the daily which is close to the rulers of the Persian Gulf monorchy.
If convicted, the professors could be jailed for 10-15 years, after which the foreigners would be deported, it added.
Saudi Arabia and its neighboring ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have brutally cracked down on Islamists accused of any links with the Brotherhood and other Muslim groups.
Riyadh had hailed the military coup against Egypt’s first freely-elected president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood. It has also poured billions of dollars into the treasury of Egypt’s military-led interim government in Cairo to keep its economy functioning amid the country’s growing unrest following Morsi’s forced removal.
The Saudi kingdom, along with other absolute monarchies of the Persian Gulf, fears the Brotherhood brand of grass-roots activism and political Islam could undermine its own authority.
But in the past Saudi Arabia gave refuge to many Brotherhood members who suffered repression in the 1960s under the regime of Egypt’s first modern military ruler, Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Traditionally, members of the group were active in academic institutions in the US-backed kingdom.
On Sunday, Saudi Education Minister Khaled al-Faisal was quoted by the local media as saying that this was the reason behind the “spread of extremist ideology” in the kingdom.
“We offered them our children and they took them hostage… The society left the stage for them, including schools,” he claimed.