A former top Saudi counterterrorism official has filed a federal lawsuit in the United States against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, The suit alleges that Mohammad bin Salman is threatening to dismember another opponent after trapping him in the U.S. or Canada.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, by Saad Aljabri is the latest effort by the former intelligence official to try and bring about international and public pressure on the crown prince, following years of silence in exile abroad.
Aljabri’s lawsuit claims that MbS has detained two of his children in Saudi Arabia. It was an attempt to force him back to the kingdom because of the sensitive information he knows regarding the inner workings of the royal court and kingdom’s leadership. It also alleges that the prince’s efforts to kill him continue to this day.
MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN IS THREATENING TO DISMEMBER ANOTHER OPPONENT
Attempts by Saudi Arabia to forcibly return certain citizens who reside abroad began attracting global attention after the killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi agents who worked for the crown prince on orders from Mohammad bin Salman. His agents slain Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.
MbS denies he had any knowledge of the operation. But the CIA has declared him responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.
Aljabri’s lawsuit follows years of silence by the former intelligence official, who left the kingdom quietly around the time his former boss, Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, fell from power. Prince Mohammad bin Nayef had been the kingdom’s feared interior minister and was crown prince before he was ousted from the line of succession and stripped of his powers in 2017 by Mohammad bin Salman, whose father is king.
The formerly powerful prince was detained in March along with others by bin Salman’s forces. The kingdom failed to file formal charges. That is also when Mohammad bin Salman ordered to detain two of Aljabri’s children.
Both Aljabri and his former boss had worked closely with the C.I.A. in counterterrorism operations. They both are well-known among intelligence officials in Washington. The two were among Washington’s steadiest counterterrorism partners in the Middle East following the 9/11 attacks.
In a press release accompanying details of the lawsuit, Aljabri claims Mohammad bin Salman is targeting him for suspicion that his close relationship with members of the C.I.A. helped the agency reach its conclusions about Prince Mohammad’s alleged involvement in Khashoggi’s death.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington and the Royal Court did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Aljabri has also not responded to repeated attempts over the years by The Associated Press to contact him.
MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN SURVIVABILITY IS IN DOUBT
While the Saudi government has not officially commented on Aljabri, it has issued extradition requests and Interpol notices. Saudi officials have also told the Wall Street Journal that the Saudi authorities wants him for corruption involving billions of dollars. A bogus charge Mohammad bin Salman applied in his 2017 purge to embezzle billions from legitimate Saudi businessmen.
Al-Jabri’s lawsuit claims the crown prince deployed operatives into the United States to track him down; along with members of a “kill team” MbS dispatched to Canada two weeks after the same squad killed Khashoggi.
The statement claims the Canadian border security officials thwarted the kill orders of Mohammad bin Salman.
STATE DEPARTMENT IS REACTING
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said the lawsuit illustrates “the propensity of the Saudi crown prince to commit the most heinous crimes to silence his critics.”
The U.S. State Department sent the senator a letter, saying it has called on Saudi Arabia to immediately release Aljabri’s children, describing the former Saudi official as someone who responded around the clock to threats against U.S. interests in the kingdom.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of D.C., names a number of Saudi officials as defendants. The list includes the notorious Saud al-Qahtani and Ahmed Assiri, former top advisors to MbS. Both faced Saudi courts but Mohammad bin Salman interfered to exonerate them. Al-Jabri also names Bader al-Asaker, a close confidante of MbS.
In recent months, Aljabri’s son Khalid Aljabri has been speaking to the Washington Post and the New York Times. Mostly about his father and detained siblings, Sarah and Omar.
Khalid Aljabri said in a public statement:
After exhausting every single avenue for a peaceful remedy, we were left with no other choice but to seek justice and accountability in a U.S. federal court.
AP contributed to this article.