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Saudi billionaire prince Al-Waleed's brother freed after a year's detention

Prince Khalid bin Talal had been held for criticising the biggest crackdown on Saudi elite last November that saw dozens of princes, officials and tycoons detained at Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel

AFP/PTI  |  Riyadh 

Al-Waleed bin Talal
Al-Waleed bin Talal

Saudi authorities have released the brother of billionaire after nearly a year in detention, family members have said, as the kingdom faces pressure over Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

The release of was confirmed by at least three relatives on on Saturday, with photos shared of him kissing and embracing his son who has been in a for years.

"Thank god for your safety," his niece tweeted, posting additional pictures of the released with other relatives.

The government has not offered any public explanation for his arrest or the conditions of his release.

The reported that he was detained for 11 months for criticising the biggest crackdown on the kingdom's elite last November that saw dozens of princes, officials and tycoons detained at Riyadh's

The government labelled it a corruption crackdown, but critics said it was an attempt by -- heir to the Saudi throne -- to sideline his potential rivals and consolidate power.

Prince Al-Waleed, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia, was among those rounded up and was released in early January after an undisclosed financial agreement with the government.

It appeared similar to deals that authorities struck with most other detainees in exchange for their freedom.

Prince Khalid's release comes as the kingdom faces outrage over the killing of Khashoggi inside its consulate in on October 2. It is widely seen as the worst diplomatic crisis facing the kingdom since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Turkey's on Friday said the order to murder Khashoggi came from "the highest levels" of the Saudi government, without directly naming the

The government now appears keen to shore up internal royal family support to defuse the crisis. Authorities could also potentially release other elites still in detention, including former Prince and billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, The reported.

"The has left the kingdom of in its weakest diplomatic position since the horrific terror attacks of September 11," Ali Shihabi, of the Foundation think tank, wrote in a report published on Friday.

"In the aftermath of the understandable global outrage at the Khashoggi murder, something will clearly have to give." Shihabi called for the release of "women activists and other moderate critics of the government" who have been detained in Prince Mohammed's widely condemned crackdown on dissent in recent months.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 04 2018. 05:25 IST