Saudi authorities have arrested a university lecturer as part of an ongoing crackdown against Muslim preachers and intellectuals led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The rights group ALQST, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page on Saturday that Dr. Musaed al-Tayyar had been detained.
The post added that the 53-year-old Tayyar is an associate professor at King Saud University in the Saudi capital Riyadh. He has written many books on Islamic teachings and participated in debates on the Holy Quran, the holy book of Muslims.
The academic is not known to have commented on political issues, which raises questions about the motives behind his arrest.
Saudi Arabia has recently stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.
Saudi officials have also intensified security measures in the kingdom’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.
Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime. Regime forces have increased security measures across the province.
Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to also target activism.
In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the policies of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.