Dubai (AFP) – American pop legend Cher has tweeted her support for a jailed Saudi Arabian royal, appealing to powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to “be kind… and let him go”.
Cher tweeted on March 30 that her son, Elijah, was “heartbroken” — using the broken heart emoji — over the fate of his “good friend Prince Turki bin Abdullah”.
Prince Turki was among more than 380 royals and businessmen rounded up in November in what authorities said was a crackdown on corruption.
A son of the late King Abdullah, the prince was once the governor of the Saudi capital Riyadh. He was one of the most prominent detainees to be held at the now-infamous Ritz-Carlton.
In an emoji-laden tweet, Cher urged Crown Prince Mohammed — currently on a high-profile US tour — to “be kind 2 Turki and let him go free,” adding “INSHALLAH”, Arabic for “God willing”, and “I would speak 4 him”.
Prince Turki’s top aide, Major General Ali al-Qahtani, was also detained in the graft probe and, according to a New York Times investigation, died while in custody with his body showing signs of torture.
Critics say the corruption crackdown, spearheaded by the powerful Prince Mohammed, is aimed at consolidating the 32-year-old’s grip on power before he succeeds his father as king of the world’s largest oil exporter.
Officials have not made public the charges against suspects detained at the Ritz-Carlton.
Saudi Arabia’s attorney general has said the state recovered $107 billion in settlements, including property, securities and cash.
Saudi authorities said in January the bulk of the detainees, including those who agreed to settle, have been released.