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Saudi authorities arrest another relative of ex-intel official Saad al-Jabri

Security forces seize brother-in-law of Jabri's son Khalid in 'blatant attempt' to interfere with ongoing lawsuit against Saudi crown prince
Jabri accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of sending a hit squad to Canada in an attempt to kill him.
Jabri accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of sending hit squad to Canada in attempt to kill him (AFP/File photo)
By in
Washington

Saudi authorities have reportedly arrested another relative of former intelligence official Saad al-Jabri, who is living in self-imposed exile in Canada and has accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in a US court of sending a hit squad to kill him.

Jabri's son, Khalid, said in a statement on Wednesday that his brother-in-law, Salem al-Muzaini, had been taken by security forces earlier in the week and that his current whereabouts are unknown.

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"In response to a request from a Saudi state security agent, Salem willingly went to a state security service office in Riyadh on Monday morning and has not been seen or heard from since," Khalid, a Toronto-based cardiologist, said.

Jabri's son said the forced disappearance "is a blatant attempt by MBS to interfere with the US judicial process".

Earlier this month, Saad al-Jabri filed a lawsuit against MBS, accusing the crown prince of ordering a hit squad to assassinate him on US and Canadian soil.

A US judge responded to the suit and issued a summons for MBS to appear in court.

Jabri, who is characterised in the legal filing as a "trusted partner of US intelligence officials", claims MBS dispatched a 50-person kill team dubbed "the Tiger Squad" in October 2018 - just two weeks after the murder of Saudi dissident and Middle East Eye columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Previous rendition from UAE

The lawsuit marks the first time a former senior Saudi official has publicly accused MBS, the kingdom's de facto ruler, of carrying out a campaign to silence critical voices.

As first reported by Middle East Eye, MBS has spent years trying to coax Jabri into returning to the kingdom. In March, authorities detained two of his adult children and his brother, prompting accusations by relatives and US officials that they were being held hostage to secure Jabri's return.

Khalid previously said a "Western journalist" told him that his siblings were being held at the maximum-security al-Ha'ir Prison, where women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul and Saudi Princess Basmah bint Saud have been imprisoned.

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"My innocent siblings Sarah and Omar have been held incommunicado in Saudi since March because our father rebuffed MBS's demands that he return to the Kingdom where true justice cannot be found," Khalid said in the statement.

Muzaini, Khalid noted, has previously had encounters with Saudi authorities, including in 2017 when he was renditioned from the United Arab Emirates to the kingdom, where he was tortured then barred from travelling outside the country.

Muzaini's wife and children live in Canada.

"MBS and Saudi authorities should do the right thing: Free my sister, brother, and brother-in-law immediately and unconditionally," Khalid said.

"The continuing lawless persecution of my family must stop now."

The Globe and Mail reported earlier this month that Saad al-Jabri was living under heightened security in Toronto after Canadian authorities were alerted to a new attempt to assassinate him.