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Saudi activist takes MBS to court in UK as mastermind behind spying operations

January 30, 2020 at 2:20 pm

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman poses prior to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Presidential Palace on 10 April, 2018 in Paris, France [Chesnot/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is the mastermind and key figure behind covert operations against Saudis who disagree with or are critical of his rule, a Saudi human rights activist has stated.

Ghanem Al-Masarir, who previously reported in May last year that his phones were hacked by the Saudi government and that he was attacked on the street by Saudi loyalists, has filed a case in the British High Court against the crown prince after finding spyware owned by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group on his phone.

After presenting the circumstances to a judge, it was deemed to be a valid and “arguable case”, ensuring that “a [court] order has been granted and it will go through the British Foreign Office to the Saudi Foreign Ministry,” Al-Masarir informed the Turkish news outlet Anadolu Agency.

His declaration comes a reports continue to surface of Saudi dissidents abroad being monitored and surveilled by the kingdom. “Saudis follow anyone who criticises them,” he stressed, even going so far as to “have kidnapped three members of their royal family from Europe.”

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They used to hide their dirty work. But since Mohammad Bin Salman came to power, he seemed to not give a damn about anything. He does his dirty work in public view

Al-Masarir explained.

The London-based activist, also touched on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018, said that Bin Salman is acting as if it never happened.

“In the beginning, he denied it…He is now denying hacking the phone of Jeff Bezos,” he said, referring to the recent scandal which apparently implicates the crown prince in the allegedly hacking of the Amazon CEO’s phone.

Al-Masarir’s filing of the court case against Bin Salman comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has become increasingly aggressive in both its foreign policy and its actions against dissidents, particularly bringing into its use intelligence capabilities and Israeli spyware to crackdown against criticism.

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