Saudi King's aide was relieved of duties 'for slapping a photographer'

No official explanation has been given for the replacement of Mohammed al-Tibaishi as the head of royal protocol

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The reason behind relieving a senior aide to Saudi’s King Salman of his duties became clearer on Tuesday following the revelation of video footage that appears to show a photographer being slapped, Al Arabiya News Channel reported earlier today.

No explanation has been given for the replacement of Mohammed al-Tobaishi as the head of royal protocol. But video footage covering the arrival of Morocco’s King Mohammed at Riyadh airport on Sunday, appears to have also captured in the background the moment Tobaishi turned to a photographer and slapped him.


The video clip shown below has gone viral, with bloggers calling for action against Tobaishi for his apparent abuse of authority against a journalist

Tobaishi was replaced with Khalid Al Abad on Monday. But it is apparently not the first time Tobaishi had held, or has been removed from the position of head of protocol.

The late King Abdullah removed him from the same position in 2013, but he was reinstated three months later - but again, no explanation was given at that time for the king’s actions.

King Salman’s decision behind the sacking has been welcomed by bloggers and journalists alike, reported the UAE English language daily, Gulf News.

“This is a great day for journalists and media figures,” journalist Abdullah Al Bergawi, told the newspaper.

“Removing the head of the royal protocol in support of a journalist is a clear consolidation of the status of the media and a victory for journalism. King Salman is again showing that no-one is above the law and that all people, officials or not, are to be held responsible for their words and deeds and for not respecting people’s right to dignity.”

The Saudi king last month banned senior royal, Prince Mamdouh bin Abdul Rahman, from participating in sport activities and speaking to the media after remarks he made on a television talk show, that were deemed racist.

Ahmed Al-Khatib was also replaced as health minister earlier in April after being filmed in a heated argument with a member of the public who was complaining about the condition a Riyadh-based hospital.

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