A Secret Campaign Launched By The Saudi Prince Is Responsible For Khashoggi’s Murder: Report

A secret campaign, that is involved in at least a dozen operations including surveillance, kidnapping, detention, and torture of Saudis, was approved by Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to silence dissenters, according to reports from the New York Times on Sunday. Even before the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, the campaign or team was involved in operations starting in 2017, Times reported.

The reports about these unknown operations came in from American officials who have read classified intelligence assessments about the Saudi campaign and from Saudis who had direct knowledge of some of the operations. Disclosing classified information can anger the Saudi government, hence the anonymity of these people was taken into effect due to the fear of repercussions.

The U.S. officials called the campaign as the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group. Operations also involved forcibly repatriating Saudis from other Arab countries and detaining and abusing prisoners in palaces belonging to the crown prince and his father, King Salman, according to the Times. According to American officials familiar with the intelligence reports, last June the leader of the rapid intervention group had asked a top adviser to Prince Mohammed whether the crown prince would give the team bonuses for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, since they had been busy.

However, Saudi officials have denied such allegations and insists that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi was not an assassination ordered from Riyadh. Government officials said that the decision to kill him was made on the spot by the team and those who are responsible, are being prosecuted. 11 Saudis are facing criminal charges for the killing and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five of them, according to the Saudi officials. But officials have not publicly identified the accused. The Saudi government did not answer any questions about the team’s work and claimed that the death was an interrogation gone wrong and has nothing to do with the crown prince.



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