The new National Assembly Party was established on Wednesday in London, at a rather safe distance from the tentacles of an absolute monarchy, which has been in power in the peninsular country for decades.
The ultra-conservative country, where political parties are strictly banned and sedition or criticism of the king merits long prison terms, has been ruled exclusively by members of the Al-Saud family since Ibn Saud founded the monarchy in September 1932.
The formation of the opposition party comes as the self-styled reformer crown prince has pledged a number of economic and social reforms, particularly with much fanfare for women, promising them a breath of fresh air in the stifling male-dominant atmosphere.
“This is an initiative that builds on previous Saudi attempts to insert political and civil rights in government and allow people to experience democratic institutions," Madawi al-Rasheed, the spokeswoman of the new party, told Business Insider in an exclusive interview, excepts of which was published in a report on Saturday.
“Six people announced their names knowing that their families in Saudi Arabia will be targeted and their lives might be in danger, including my life, as the Saudi regime is capable of reaching people abroad,” further said Rasheed, who is a Saudi expert based at the London School of Economics.
Saudi Arabia is by no means a safe country for opposition figures and dissidents, who are mostly behind bars. They are not even safe in the regional countries.
Back in October 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a leading critic of Saudi Arabia's current leadership, was gruesomely killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The horrendous crime plunged Saudi Arabia into its biggest crisis since the 9/11 attacks. Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed MBS ordered the hit — an accusation Saudi officials denied.
“The murder of Khashoggi is an example of that, and the surveillance, hacking of phones, and the verbal threatening of many, many activists,” Rasheed added
The other founding members are the London-based activist Yahya Asiri, the researcher Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi, the US-based campaigner Abdullah al-Awda, and the Canada-based social media personality Omar Abdulaziz, the report further said.