Following the fall of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood president and government, the Saudi government is reportedly enforcing a crackdown on Islamist figures within the country, including the two prominent religious leaders – Mussen al-Awaji and Mohamad al-Arefi.
Khaled al-Matrafi, Al-Arabiya channel manger in Saudi Arabia who is known to have close contacts with the Interior Ministry and for his vague hints, tweeted on July 14, 2013:
قريب جدا ان شاء الله حلحلة الصواميل.
@Almatrafi: Very soon, the closely connected will not be.
Many thought he was referring to the Saudi Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamist figures.
It started on July 17 with the arrest of a well-known Islamist reformist figure, Mussen al-Awaji, who, a few days before, called Saudis [ar] to sign a petition condemning the military coup in Egypt, and to “act as one Muslim body.”
At the same time, news broke about a travel ban on Mohamad al-Arefi, a very well-known figure who was in very close contact with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood administration. He was supposed to give a series of lectures in Qatar. Journalist Abdelelah al-Qahtani tweeted:
العريفي كان غدا ضيف ملتقى نسائم الخير في قطر ..وأبلغهم الشيخ اليوم بمنعه عن السفر .
@alsaleeh al-Arefi was supposed to be the quest of Breeze of Mercy festival. He informed them today about his travel ban
The news was later confirmed by the event organizers:
لأسباب خاصة نوّد إخباركم والإعتذر عن قدوم الدكتور محمد العريفي لمهرجان بشائر الرحمة التي ستقام غداً في مسرح الدراما.
@kataraqatar: For special reasons, we would like to inform you that Dr. Mohamad al-Arefi will not be attending the Omens of Mercy festival tomorrow in the Drama Theater.
During this time, al-Arefi account, which is followed by over 5.5 million users, kept tweeting. al-Matrafi retweeted one of al-Arefi's tweets and wrote another hint:
“من ثلاثة ايام ماجاني خبر”.. اكيد في الضيافة
@Almatrafi: It has been three days and I received no updates. He is surely in their hospitality.
Anonymous activism group, e3teqal, wrote a series of tweets explaining what happened:
الشيخ العريفي في فلة تابعة للداخلية #السعودية يتواصل من هاتفه مع والديه و أبنائه بشكل مستمر ، يوهمهم أنه في قطر #اعتقال_محمد_العريفي
@e3teqal: Shaikh al-Arefi is in a house that belongs to the Interior Ministry. He is in contact with his parents and children, deluding them that he is in Qatar.
تعامله وزارة الداخلية معاملة حسنة ، يبررون احتجازه بالمحافظة على أمنه الشخصي خشية اعتداء بعض المصريين عليه #اعتقال_محمد_العريفي
The interior ministry treats him well. They reason, they explain, was his personal safety because they were afraid some Egyptians may attack him.
المطلوب من الشيخ العريفي حتى يفرج عنه يوم الخميس كتابة بيان لفض اعتصام #رابعة_العدوية
@e3teqal: What they ask from Shaikh al-Arefi for his release next Thursday is to issue a statement calling for an end for [pro-Morsi] Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya sit-in in Egypt
@e3teqal also reported that several other figures are on the list and they will be arrested any time now.