The New York Times is reporting that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved a covert campaign to silence opponents and critics of the Saudi government. The campaign, which started in 2017 and whose acts were carried out by a group known as the “Saudi Rapid Intervention Group,” included surveillance, forcible repatriation, kidnapping and torture of dissidents.
Some of the covert missions were reportedly carried out by the same individuals involved in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October. A top aide to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani, is said to have overseen the campaign. The group is also believed to be involved in the jailing and abuse of at least a dozen women activists who campaigned against the kingdom’s ban on female drivers.
In more news about Saudi Arabia, Turkey said last week that Interpol had issued a “red notice” for the arrest of 20 suspects in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, including Saud al-Qahtani.