The purge is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The Gulf country made the same move against princes, government ministers, and businessmen in 2017.
The three men are King Salman’s younger brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz; former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef; and a royal cousin, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef.
The arrest motives are still unclear. International media speculate that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sees the three princes as “potential obstacles” to his power.
The arrest of senior officials and princes in Saudi Arabia is not unheard of.
The Saudi crown prince detained 30 senior royal family members and hundreds of businessmen at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh in November 2017.
MBS, considered a de facto leader in Saudi Arabia, has been stirring controversy in recent years, especially after receiving his crown prince title in 2016.
Still making headlines is the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Human rights groups have long accused MBS of ordering Khashoggi’s murder. The crown prince denies his direct involvement but said the murder happened “under his watch.”
MBS is also facing criticism for the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen and for human rights violations in Saudi Arabia against activists and journalists.