Arabic press review: Saudi opposition movement launched from Paris

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Saudi academic establishes the 'National Mobilisation Movement'. Meanwhile, three are sentenced to death in Iran over financial crimes

'Al-Saud's regime is humiliating you,' the founder of the movement said in a statement (AFP)
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Monday 1 October 2018 15:52 UTC
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New Saudi opposition movement established 

A Saudi academic and writer has publicly opposed the Saudi government and announced the formation of an opposition movement from abroad, according to an Arabi21 report.

Marzouk Mashan al-Otaibi declared the establishment of the National Mobilisation Movement from his new home in Paris, and it has reportedly already attracted several Saudis who are unhappy with the current government.

Al-Otaibi is a former writer for local Saudi newspapers Makkah and Al-Sharq, and was also a lecturer at King Saud University's chemistry department.

In a statement addressed to Saudi citizens, Al-Otaibi said: "Al-Saud’s regime is humiliating you, impoverishing you, enslaving you and scorning you."

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he added, continues "to underestimate you by ignoring all the taboos and violating Arab and Islamic sanctities. He breached the sanctity of homes and arrested women, the elderly and children. Bin Salman also tortured detainees to death".

Iranian court sentences three to death over financial crimes 

Newly created Iranian courts set up to fight corruption have sentenced three people to death for financial crimes, according to the Saudi daily newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

Last month, Iran's government set up the special courts to try suspects after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for "swift and fair" legal action to counter an "economic war waged by enemies from abroad", the newspaper reported.

Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ezhei, a spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary, said the three defendants were sentenced for "spreading corruption on earth".

He mentioned also that 32 other defendants convicted of economic crimes were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

In May, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement agreed in 2015, and has reimposed sanctions on the country.

According to Arabi21, several prominent opposition figures in Saudi Arabia endorsed Al-Otabi's statement, calling on opposing forces inside the kingdom to come forward and raise their voices.

Israel criticises Real Madrid's support of Ahed Tamimi

Real Madrid's support for Ahed Tamimi has caused a "war" between Israel and the Spanish club, according to the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi.

On Saturday, the Spanish football giant honoured the Palestinian teenager who was jailed for eight months for slapping an Israeli soldier. 

Shortly before the team's match with bitter rivals Atletico Madrid, Tamimi was greeted by Emilio Butragueno, the legendary former forward and top club official.

Tamimi was presented with a Real Madrid shirt with "Ahed" on the back, along with the number nine – commonly used by strikers.

Some Israeli officials publicly condemned the club's reception of Tamimi.

According to the al-Quds al-Arabi report, the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation quoted Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon as saying: "It is a shame that Real Madrid had received a saboteur who incites violence …This move has nothing to do with the values of football."

The paper also quoted Daniel Kutner, Israeli ambassador to Spain: "Ahed Tamimi is not a fighter for peace and the institutions that welcomed her are reinforcing violence rather than dialogue and understanding."

Syrian children in Jordan are threatened

United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) employees in Jordan have expressed disappointment over cuts to aid given to tens of thousands of Syrian children who escaped their country's war with their families, Assabeel reports.

Only 51 percent of the total amount needed to help Syrian children in Jordan - $293m - has been pledged at this time, the organisation told the Jordanian newspaper.

Robert Jenkins, Unicef's representative in Amman, is afraid that he might be obliged to take certain measures he describes as "sad and painful".

"The weakness of the funding response will push us to take tough decisions that will reduce the number of programmes targeting children," he said.

Unicef is now moving to close around half of the 200 "My Place" educational centres which provide education services, protection and various activities for about 130,000 Syrian refugee children in Jordan. 

The total number of children served will drop by half when the centres close.

According to official statistics, Jordan hosts some 230,000 school-age Syrian children, but nearly a third of them are not in school.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.