The al-Saud ruling family is the absolute authority in Saudi Arabia.
And, in conjunction with the Wahabi religious establishment, it ensures that free speech is stifled and that political opposition and dissent are suppressed.
A new report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London says that there are around 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabian jails. These range from Shias who are claiming greater rights, to those who're unhappy with Saudi Arabia's pro western policies or those claiming greater rights at home. Most, the IHRC says, have been incarcerated after sham trials.
The IHRC's chairman says that proportionally there are more political prisoners in Saudi Arabia than in the ex Soviet Union at its height.
According to the report, political opposition in Saudi Arabia intensified in the 1990s when the Saudis invited the US army onto its soil to attack Iraq.
And further opposition was provoked during the last decade after the Saudis were accused of acquiescing with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
But with uprisings talking place across the Arab world, the report warns that the Saudis must enact serious reforms otherwise their days may be numbered.
Meanwhile, the Saudi opposition in exile says that western countries now have a duty to stop supporting what they call “tyrants”.
The Saudi embassy in London didn't respond to Press TV's request for an interview, but in the past they've said that those jailed opponents of the regime are either members of al Qaida or people who've tried to destabilize the country.