Journalist Khashoggi’s murder

Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 01:42 am
Some good news.

A football player and refugee whose detention in Thailand sparked an outcry has been freed from jail after Bahrain withdrew its extradition request.

Hakeem al-Araibi, who is a Bahraini citizen, fled to Australia in 2014 and was granted political asylum.

He was detained in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice requested by Bahrain. He had travelled to the Thai capital on honeymoon.

He was sentenced in absentia to 10 years for vandalising a police station.

Al-Araibi, 25, denies the charges. Human rights activists say he could face torture if sent back to Bahrain, where he was a vocal critic of the authorities.

His case has been taken up by high-profile footballers, with stars including Didier Drogba and Jamie Vardy calling for his release. The Australian government, football's international governing body Fifa and the International Olympic Committee all lobbied Thailand.

Thailand's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) asked the court to end proceedings against al-Araibi because Bahrain had said it no longer wanted him, officials told BBC Thai on Monday.

"This morning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed us that Bahrain was no longer interested in this request," OAG foreign office chief Chatchom Akapin said.

Al-Araibi is expected to leave Thailand on Monday evening for Australia.

Bahrain's foreign ministry said that despite the end of the extradition proceedings, the footballer's conviction still stood. "The Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr al-Araibi," it added.

The Thai foreign minister was in Bahrain over the weekend for an official visit and met senior leaders.

Bahrain's foreign ministry on Monday said that despite the end of the extradition proceedings, the footballer's conviction still stood. "The Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms its right to pursue all necessary legal actions against Mr al-Araibi," it added.

Craig Foster, a former Australian national football captain and TV host who spearheaded the campaign to free al-Araibi, said there were "tears" in his household "right now".

He told the BBC that it was "an extraordinary day". "Sanity has prevailed, international law has been upheld," he said, adding he was glad that football had "stepped forward".

There had been criticism that football bodies, including Fifa, had not initially lobbied strongly enough on behalf of al-Araibi. Mr Foster and world players' union FIFPro had urged Fifa to threaten sporting sanctions against Bahrain and Thailand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra that he thanked Bangkok for "listening to the issues" Australia had raised.

"Now the next step is for him to return home. But as it always is in these cases, people aren't home until they're home," he said.

Al-Araibi plays for Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne.

Last month, his wife told the BBC that extradition would put him in danger.

"I'm calling on every country to help Hakeem because I know if he gets taken back, he will be tortured, and he will be killed," she said.

But Bahrain said al-Araibi had been sentenced by an independent judiciary "on charges involving serious violence and criminality, unrelated to any possible freedom of opinion/expression issues".

It said his safety would be "guaranteed" if he returned to Bahrain to appeal against the sentence.

Human rights activists lauded Monday's news.

"This is a huge victory for the human rights movement in Bahrain, Thailand and Australia, and even the whole world," said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, London-based campaign group.

"Hakeem's ordeal ended after 70 days when there was a clear public stance and solidarity movement. The football community, the human rights movement and all of those who dedicated their time and efforts to end this injustice were rewarded."

Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2019 02:32 am
Some silly news: Sen. Lindsey Graham S.C. has forgotten about the butchered Washington Post Journalist, Khashoggi and instead wants an investigation on the FISA warrants. Thank you Graham for boiling it down to persecuting the investigators...
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Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2019 07:20 am
Smartphone apps have transformed many areas of our lives, but in Saudi Arabia they are being used to curtail the rights of women.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we ask whether it is the responsibility of technology companies to make sure their platforms are not used by governments to repress their citizens.

In Saudi Arabia, women need permission from a male guardian - usually a father or husband - to travel abroad.

A smartphone app called Absher, available for Apple or Android phones, gives access to a number of government services. It also allows men to approve or refuse permission for overseas journeys made by women.

Recent stories of women who have managed to leave the country against the wishes of their male relatives have highlighted the role technology plays in policing their movements.

Rothna Begum, senior women's rights researcher at the campaign group Human Rights Watch, explains how the system affects every Saudi woman when she travels.

"She can't leave an airport without permission being provided. The authorities will know whether or not she has been granted permission. If her guardian has asked for notifications, when she's left the airport, he will receive an SMS text alert," she explains.

Salwa, a young woman who fled Saudi Arabia last year, told the BBC she managed to get out after getting hold of her father's phone.

She took it when he was asleep, and clicked on the "forgot password" link to steal his identity.

"I changed the number of my father's phone to my phone number, and I made a consent for me and for my sister," she says.

According to Rothna, app store providers should be showing that apps are not facilitating abuse and discrimination. She has called on Apple and Google to act.

"Now that they've been alerted to it, they could go back to the Saudi government and tell them to remove the functionality that is allowing men to control and track women."

Removing the app would not mean the end of the male guardianship system. The Saudi government's web portal has the same functions allowing the tracking of women.

But Human Rights Watch believes action from the tech companies would increase the pressure on the government to get rid of the system.

Apple and Google could well argue that it is not their job to determine the laws of the countries where they operate. But, as with their dealings with China, they will also be aware of the reputational risk of putting commercial interests ahead of the values they claim to espouse.

Apple says it is looking into the Absher app. The BBC has contacted Google about this issue but has yet to receive a reply.

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Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2019 03:43 pm
Two young women from Saudi Arabia are appealing for help after revealing they have spent six months in legal limbo in Hong Kong after fleeing their family.

Rawan and Reem (not their real names) say they escaped while on a family holiday in Sri Lanka in September.

They had been trying to get to Australia, but say they were intercepted in Hong Kong.

The case comes just weeks after another fleeing teenager was given asylum in Canada.

Rawan and Reem claim Saudi officials attempted to seize their travel documents in Hong Kong's airport.

They say they then resisted boarding a flight to Dubai, only to find flights to Melbourne they had booked had been cancelled.

Their lawyer, Michael Vidler, says they have held the status of "tolerated overstayers" in Hong Kong since and were informed in November that their Saudi passports had been invalidated.

Under Saudi law, women have to get a male relative's approval to apply for a passport or travel outside the country.

The women, aged 18 and 20, say they do not want to return home because they fear punishment or even death on their return.

Speaking to the BBC's Chinese service, the sisters said they had hatched a plot to flee because they had "no dignity" in their lives in Saudi Arabia.

They allege they were beaten, humiliated and forced to do household chores by their male relatives.

"My life was just to serve them. I was very depressed, didn't see any future," Rawan said. "They don't care about any of my needs or my education - their only focus was to raise me as a good wife."


Lots more at link.
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Reply Thu 28 Feb, 2019 08:04 pm
and who slid in to a meeting with the leader of the murderers while the media was focused on Cohen?



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Reply Thu 7 Mar, 2019 02:12 pm
Thirty-six states at the UN Human Rights Council have criticised Saudi Arabia for detaining women's rights activists, and demanded their release.

The joint statement was the first collective rebuke of the Gulf kingdom since the council was set up in 2006.

It reflects international concern at the detention of a number of activists in the past year and also at the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A Saudi diplomat denounced the use of such statements "for political causes".

"Interference in domestic affairs under the guise of defending human rights is in fact an attack on our sovereignty," said Abdul Aziz Alwasil, the kingdom's permanent representative in Geneva.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says that for years the Human Rights Council has shied away from public criticism of Saudi Arabia.

Many European countries view Riyadh as an ally in a troubled part of the world, restricting their concerns over human rights to private informal chats, our correspondent adds.

On Thursday that changed. All 28 members of the European Union and eight other states - Australia, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand and Norway - "expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests" of human rights defenders, including women's rights activists.

"We are particularly concerned about the use of the counter-terrorism law and other national security provisions against individuals peacefully exercising their rights and freedoms," said the joint statement, which was read out by Iceland's permanent representative, Harald Aspelund.

"Human rights defenders and civil society groups can and should play a vital role in the process of reform which the kingdom is pursuing."

The countries called on the Saudi authorities to release all the activists, including the nine women and one man whose names Mr Aspelund read out.

Saudi Arabia began detaining the activists in May, just weeks ahead of the lifting of the ban on women driving for which many of them had campaigned.

In November, human rights groups reported that at least four of the women were alleging that interrogators had tortured them, including with electric shocks and whippings, and had sexually harassed and assaulted them. The Saudi deputy public prosecutor has said the allegations are "false".

On Friday, the public prosecutor's office announced it was referring to court the cases of a group of people, who human rights groups said included several of the activists.

It did not specify the charges, but said they were suspected of undertaking "co-ordinated and organized activities… that aim to undermine the kingdom's security, stability, and national unity".

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has insisted that the women's rights activists are being held on national security grounds rather than as part of a wider crackdown on dissent.

The joint statement by the 36 states also condemned the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October, and told the kingdom that those responsible had to be held to account.

"We call upon Saudi Arabia to disclose all information available and to fully co-operate with all investigations into the killing, including the human rights inquiry by the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions," it said.

The special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, said last month that the evidence showed that Khashoggi was "the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia".

Saudi prosecutors have claimed that Khashoggi was killed by a "rogue" team of agents not acting the government's orders, and have put 11 people on trial for his murder.

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Reply Wed 13 Mar, 2019 05:15 am
A number of women's rights activists have gone on trial in Saudi Arabia in a case that has raised questions about the kingdom's human rights record.

The first activists were detained last May, shortly before the lifting of a ban on women driving, for which many of them had campaigned.

Charges they face are said to include supporting "hostile elements" and could carry long prison sentences.

Demands for the women's release have come from around the world.

Last week more than 30 countries at the UN Human Rights Council criticised Saudi Arabia for detaining the women.

Scrutiny of human rights in the kingdom has intensified since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.

As many as 10 women were expected to appear at the criminal court in Riyadh on Wednesday, including prominent campaigners Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan and Hatoon al-Fassi.

Journalists and diplomats are not allowed to attend the hearing.

The public prosecutor's office has not specified the charges against them, but said they were suspected of undertaking "co-ordinated and organised activities… that aim to undermine the kingdom's security, stability and national unity".

On Tuesday, Ms Hathloul's brother said the trial had been switched to the criminal court from the Specialized Criminal Court, which was set up to try terrorism cases. The reason for the decision was not clear.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights said on Tuesday it feared the women might not get a fair trial and that it was "deeply concerned" about their wellbeing.

In November, human rights groups reported that at least four of the women were alleging that interrogators had tortured them, including with electric shocks and whippings, and had sexually harassed and assaulted them. The Saudi deputy public prosecutor has said the allegations are "false".

Saudi officials have accused critics of interfering in the Gulf kingdom's domestic affairs "under the guise of defending human rights".

Last August, Saudi Arabia froze trade ties with Canada and expelled its ambassador in response to calls to release the detained activists.

At the time, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said at least 15 human rights defenders and women's rights activists critical of the Saudi government had been arrested or detained arbitrarily since 15 May.

Also among the detained women is the Saudi-American human rights campaigner Samar Badawi, sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Ms Badawi, who was given the US International Women of Courage Award in 2012, is known for challenging Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system.

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online in 2014. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and has become a Canadian citizen.

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Reply Tue 19 Mar, 2019 01:52 am
Italy's La Scala opera house is to return more than €3 million (£2.5m; $3.4m) to Saudi Arabia after a funding plan with the kingdom triggered a public backlash.

The deal would have allowed the Saudi culture minister a seat on the board.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record is under close scrutiny after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

The partnership plan was criticised by rights groups and politicians.

"We have unanimously decided to return the money," opera house president Giuseppe Sala, who is also the mayor of Milan, told reporters after a board meeting on Monday.

"We'll go back to scratch today. We'll see if there are other opportunities for collaboration."

The €3m already delivered was part of a proposed €15m five-year partnership proposal with the Saudi culture ministry.

But the plan drew widespread criticism, including from members of Italy's governing League party.

League leader and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini urged the opera house to scrap the deal while the governor of the Lombardy region, who is also a League member, demanded the opera's artistic director, Alexander Pereira, be sacked.

Mr Sala said that Mr Pereira, who negotiated the deal, would keep his job.

There has been no comment so far from Saudi officials.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing of Jamal Khashoggi on rogue agents and denied claims that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had any knowledge of the operation.

Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 31 Mar, 2019 07:53 am
Members of a murder squad against the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi have apparently been trained in the USA. Specifically, they were trained by a private security company, the Tier 1 Group, in Arkansas, reports the Washington Post, citing more than a dozen insiders from the USA and Saudi Arabia.

The training took place before the Khashoggi murder, the paper continues. The company had received the necessary approval from the US Department of State.

How the mysteries of Khashoggi’s murder have rocked the U.S.-Saudi partnership
Reply Sun 31 Mar, 2019 08:15 am
@Walter Hinteler,
And there's this.

An investigator for Amazon boss Jeff Bezos says that Saudi Arabia hacked Mr Bezos's phone and accessed his data.

Gavin de Becker was hired by Mr Bezos to find out how his private messages had been leaked to the National Enquirer tabloid.

Mr de Becker linked the hack to the Washington Post's coverage of the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia has not yet commented on the allegation.

Mr Bezos owns the Washington Post.

Mr de Becker said he had handed his findings over to US federal officials.

"Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information," he wrote on the Daily Beast website.

Mr de Becker's findings come after Mr Bezos in February accused the National Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc (AMI) of blackmail, saying it had threatened to publish his intimate photos unless he said that the tabloid's reporting was not politically motivated.

The National Enquirer had published claims in January that the Amazon boss had been having an affair. The coverage included photos and text messages.

Mr de Becker said that AMI had also demanded that he say his investigation had concluded that AMI had not relied upon "any form of electronic eavesdropping or hacking in their newsgathering process".

He alleged that the Saudi government had targeted the Washington Post - for which Mr Khashoggi had been writing.

"Some Americans will be surprised to learn that the Saudi government has been very intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October, when the Post began its relentless coverage of Khashoggi's murder," Mr de Becker said.

"It's clear that MBS considers the Washington Post to be a major enemy," he added, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

US officials have said that Mr Khashoggi's murder would have needed Prince Mohammed's approval, but Saudi Arabia has denied that he was involved.

The Saudi embassy in Washington has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Becker's allegation, Reuters reported.

In February, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs said Saudi Arabia had "absolutely nothing to do" with the National Enquirer's reporting on Mr Bezos' affair.

AMI has not yet commented on Mr de Becker's allegations. The company has previously said that it acted lawfully in its reporting of Mr Bezos' personal life.

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Reply Fri 5 Apr, 2019 11:13 am
Saudi Arabia has detained at least seven people, including two dual US-Saudi citizens and a pregnant woman, a London-based rights group says.

Those arrested are not said to be frontline activists, but writers and bloggers who have discussed reform.

They had already been under a travel ban since February, rights group ALQST says.

The latest arrests come amid concern at the fate of activists already in prison after pushing for women's rights.

Ten women's rights campaigners were put on trial last month following a crackdown beginning in 2018. Three were released last week on bail.

That case has drawn international criticism, with 36 states demanding their release at the UN Human Rights Council.

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Reply Fri 19 Apr, 2019 04:16 am
"We have to cover our face, we have to cook...like slaves. We don't want this, we want real life, our life," says 25-year-old Wafa, the latest woman to flee Saudi Arabia with her sister.

Wafa and Maha al-Subaie, 28, are now in the republic of Georgia and are under state protection in a shelter.

They had made their case for international help on Twitter, under the account @GeorgiaSisters.

The sisters are appealing to the UN to help them get to a third, safe country.

They travelled to Georgia as Saudis do not require entry visas.

"We need your support, we want protection, we want a country that will welcome us and protect our rights," said Wafa.

Looking distressed and terrified, the Saudi sisters arrived at Georgia's migration department on Thursday evening accompanied by immigration authorities.

In an interview to local media the sisters said they did not feel safe in Georgia because it would be easy for their male relatives to find them.

"Georgia is a small country and anyone from our family can come and track us down," Wafa said.

Asked why they felt threatened in Saudi Arabia, she said it is "because we are women".

"Our family threaten us every day in our country," she said, while her sister Maha said they had proof of this.

This the latest case of Saudi women fleeing the ultra-conservative kingdom, where women are forced to obtain the permission of their male guardians if they want to work or travel.

In January 2019, the 18-year old Saudi teenager, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qanun, made international headlines after she flew to Thailand and barricaded herself in a hotel while appealing on Twitter for help to avoid deportation.

She has since been granted asylum in Canada.

And in March, two other Saudi sisters who spent six months hiding in Hong Kong were granted humanitarian visas after fleeing to escape lives of "violence and oppression".

"In Saudi Arabia men control women's lives from birth until death under the male guardianship system," said Human Right Watch Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson.

"The Georgian authorities have said they will respect the sisters' right to claim asylum, which is the appropriate and welcome response. The real focus now should be on removing the systematic discrimination that women face in Saudi Arabia and providing meaningful and effective assistance to Saudi women subjected to abuse."

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Reply Fri 19 Apr, 2019 09:54 am
Turkey has arrested what it says are two intelligence operatives who confessed to spying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Turkey is investigating whether there may be links to the murder last year of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate, a senior Turkish official told Reuters.

The CIA believes the Saudi crown prince ordered the killing.

Saudi Arabia claims the murder was as a result of "rogue" operatives.

"We are investigating whether the primary individual's arrival in Turkey was related to the Jamal Khashoggi murder," said the official, adding the person had been monitored for six months before the arrests in Istanbul on Monday.

"It is possible that there was an attempt to collect information about Arabs, including political dissidents, living in Turkey."

Turkish officials seized an encrypted computer found in what the official said was the spy ring's base in Istanbul.

The official, who requested anonymity, said statements by the suspected spies suggested their intelligence operation had targeted political exiles and students.

"We have extensive evidence of the individuals' covert activities on Turkish soil," the official said, calling it an "airtight" case.

"They also confessed to have been employed by the UAE's intelligence services."

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have long been close allies, collaborating closely during the 2017-18 Qatar diplomatic crisis.

An embargo against Qatar was introduced by four countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates - who accused the gas-rich state of supporting terrorism, a charge it strongly denies.

However, there has been no evidence to suggest the UAE was involved in the murder of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has put 11 people on trial for the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

It has refused to extradite its citizens to Turkey after the country issued arrest warrants for several Saudi officials.

A UN preliminary report released in February said Khashoggi "was the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia".

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said the Washington Post journalist had been given a lethal injection after a struggle and his body dismembered inside the consulate after his death. He said it was on the orders of a rogue intelligence officer, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Reply Wed 24 Apr, 2019 11:11 am
A Saudi prisoner has been executed and crucified, according to a statement by the country's state media.

The man was one of 37 people executed on Tuesday on charges of terrorism.

The statement added that the men were charged with "adopting terrorist extremist ideology, forming terrorist cells" and harming the "peace and security of society".

One of the men executed was aged just 16 at the time of his arrest, according to Amnesty International.

Executions are usually carried out by beheading. Crucifixion following an execution is reserved for crimes seen by the authorities as even more serious.

In Tuesday's executions, those accused had allegedly attacked security headquarters, killing a number of officers, the Saudi Press Agency statement said.

The punishments were carried out in several locations including the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Mecca and Medina.

Among those executed, at least 14 were convicted of violent offences relating to their participation in anti-government demonstrations, Amnesty reports.

In 2018, a man was executed and crucified after he was accused of stabbing a woman to death. He was also accused of attempted murder of another man along with attempting to rape a woman, Bloomberg reported.

The Saudi government does not release official statistics on the number of executions it carries out, but state media does report frequently on executions.

According to Amnesty, at least 104 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year. In 2018, the Gulf state carried out 149 executions.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia claimed it foiled an attack that targeted a security bureau in al-Zulfi, north of Riyadh.

The four attackers were killed, according to the State Security Presidency's official spokesman.

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Reply Tue 30 Apr, 2019 06:08 pm
One of two men detained two weeks ago by Turkey on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates has killed himself in prison, prosecutors say.

The suspect, identified as Zaki Hasan, was found hanged in his cell in Silivri prison, west of Istanbul, on Sunday.

He allegedly confessed during interrogation that he and the other suspect had spied on Arab dissidents.

Turkish officials said they were also probing possible links to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi - a prominent US-based critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - was killed by Saudi agents when he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.

A UN special rapporteur has said he was "the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing, planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia", but the Saudi government has insisted it was a "rogue operation".

The UAE is Saudi Arabia's closest Arab ally, but there has been no evidence to suggest that it was involved in Khashoggi's death.

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Reply Fri 10 May, 2019 12:59 am
An Arab pro-democracy activist says he was whisked away to safety by officials in Norway, where he lives, after being told of a threat from Saudi Arabia.

Iyad el-Baghdadi told the BBC he believed the threat was related to his work on Saudi human rights projects.

According to the Guardian newspaper, information about the threat came from the CIA, which then notified Norway.

"If they don't want to kill me, then I'm not doing my job," he wrote on Twitter, after the news came to light.

The Palestinian author and blogger is outspoken on the social media platform, often criticising leaders in the Middle East.

This includes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose aides have been accused of ordering the murder of Saudi journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi, inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul last year.

Mr Baghdadi, who knew Khashoggi, told Al-Jazeera: "A big part of my work these past two years was focused on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, especially after the murder of my friend Jamal Khashoggi."

The CIA, Norwegian and Saudi authorities have not commented on the case.

He said he was first made aware of the threat on 25 April, when Norwegian officials appeared at his home and warned him that he could be in danger.

"I was not placed under protection for a long time. I was away for two to three hours, and the authorities have told me that so long as I'm in Oslo I'm reasonably safe. They said I will be provided with police protection soon," he tweeted.

"They seem to have me in their cross-hairs but it's not clear what they want to do," he added, clarifying that the nature of the threat was unclear and there was no indication of "a specific plot".

The Norwegian police security service had informed him that the threat was Saudi-related, a representative for the Kawaakibi Foundation, a non-profit organisation that Mr Baghdadi co-founded, told the BBC.

"We believe it to be related to our projects on human rights in Saudi Arabia over the last two years, including campaigning and supporting activists and families of imprisoned activists, our work with Jamal Khashoggi, and our investigation two months ago indicating that Saudi Arabia was behind the [Amazon boss] Jeff Bezos phone hack - but we have no confirmation of this," the statement added.

The Guardian, which broke the story, said Norway had received the intelligence from the CIA. However, the CIA has so far declined to comment on the case.

According to US policy, the agency has a legal "duty to warn" if it gathers "credible and specific information indicating an impending threat of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping directed at a person or group of people".

Mr Baghdadi told the Guardian that the Norwegian authorities had arrived with two squads - one to take him to safety and the second to guarantee they would not be followed.

He told Norway's NRK public broadcaster that he had cancelled an upcoming trip abroad on the advice of the Norwegian authorities.

The popular blogger, who has over 127,000 followers on Twitter, gained prominence during the Arab Spring in 2011.

The Palestinian was granted asylum in Norway in 2015, after being expelled from the United Arab Emirates where he grew up.

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Reply Wed 19 Jun, 2019 12:40 pm
There is credible evidence that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level officials are individually liable for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert says.

A report by special rapporteur Agnes Callamard says the evidence merits further investigation by an independent and impartial international inquiry.

Saudi agents killed the journalist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi authorities insist they were not acting on Prince Mohammed's orders.

The Gulf kingdom has put 11 unidentified people on trial behind closed doors for Khashoggi's murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.

However, Ms Callamard said the trial had failed to meet international procedural and substantive standards, and called for it to be suspended.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, rejected the report, tweeting that it was "nothing new" and contained "clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility".

"The Saudi judiciary is the sole party qualified to deal with the Khashoggi case and works with full independence," he added.

Reply Wed 19 Jun, 2019 02:17 pm
Your going to have to wait for government change to get justice for him and his family. In the united states.
Reply Wed 19 Jun, 2019 02:56 pm
Even then I don't think too much will happen. It's not just Trump, it's not just America, the West's grubby relationship with the Saudi Royals goes back a long way.
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Reply Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:33 am
Another bit of good news.

Campaigners have won a legal challenge over the UK government's decision to allow arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in the war in Yemen.

Campaign Against Arms Trade argued the decision to continue to license military equipment for export to the Gulf state was unlawful.

It said there was a clear risk the arms might be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

Judges said licences should be reviewed but would not be immediately suspended.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the government would not grant any new licences for export to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners while it considers the implications of the judgment.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the government was "disappointed" and would be seeking permission to appeal against the judgment.

Under UK export policy, military equipment licences should not be granted if there is a "clear risk" that weapons might be used in a "serious violation of international humanitarian law".

Giving judgment at the Court of Appeal in London, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton said the government "made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the past, during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so".

He said the government "must reconsider the matter" and estimate any future risks.

Mr Fox said the government always took its export obligations very seriously.

"Today's judgment is not about whether the government has made the right or wrong decisions about granting export licences, but concerns the rationality of the process used to reach decisions," he added.

The UK has licensed more than £4.7bn of arms exports to the Saudis since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015.

Equipment sold to Saudi Arabia includes Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, as well as precision-guided bombs.

The sales contribute to thousands of engineering jobs in the UK and have provided billions of pounds of revenue for the British arms trade.

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith welcomed the judgment, saying the Saudi Arabian regime was one of the most brutal and repressive in the world - yet for decades had been the largest buyer of UK-made arms.

"No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the UK," he said.

"The bombing has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world."

Lucy Claridge, director of strategic litigation at Amnesty International, said the judgment was "a major step towards preventing further bloodshed".

"This is the first time that a UK court has acknowledged the risks of continuing to lavish Saudi Arabia with military equipment for use in Yemen," she said.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats called for the government to immediately suspend all arms sales for use in the Yemen conflict.

Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry demanded "a full parliamentary or public inquiry" to find out how the breach of law was allowed to happen, and which ministers were responsible.

There has been much public debate about the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia, particularly in light of the Saudi involvement in the conflict in Yemen.

Research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think tank which monitors the global weapons industry, puts Britain in second place as a supplier of "major arms" to Saudi Arabia, behind the United States and ahead of France.

Saudi Arabia's total imports of major arms more than tripled in the period from 2012 to 2017 compared with the previous five years.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48704596<br />

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