Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused of assassination plot

A former top Saudi counterterrorism official has filed a federal lawsuit in the United States against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, alleging the royal tried to trap and kill him in the US and Canada.

The lawsuit filed 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 the crown prince has detained two of his children in Saudi Arabia in 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.

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. Khashoggi was slain inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in an operation the Saudis claim was initially an effort to forcibly bring him back to Saudi Arabia.

The crown prince denies he had any knowledge of the operation, but Western intelligence agencies and the US Senate have declared the prince ultimately 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 Mohammed bin Nayef, fell from power. Prince Mohammed 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 Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose father is king.

The formerly powerful prince was detained in March along with others by bin Salman's forces, but he has yet to face formal charges. That is also when two of Aljabri's children were reportedly detained, after earlier being barred from travelling abroad.

Both Aljabri and his former boss had worked closely with the C.I.A. in counterterrorism operations, and 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, it is claimed that Aljabri is also being targeted for suspicion that his close relationship with members of the C.I.A. helped the agency reach its conclusions about Prince Mohammed'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.

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Free Press Journal