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Saudi Arabia detains in-law of former intelligence official, says family

A Member of the Saudi special police unit stands guard during a military parade in Mecca on 17 September 2015 [MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP via Getty Images]
A member of the Saudi police in Makkah, Saudi Arabia on 17 September 2015 [MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has detained another relative of a former senior intelligence official living in exile who recently filed a lawsuit in a US court alleging the kingdom’s crown prince had tried to have him killed, his family said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Saudi authorities had already detained Saad al-Jabri’s two adult children and brother in March to try to force his return to the kingdom from exile in Canada, the family and sources with knowledge of the situation had told Reuters earlier this year.

Jabri was an aide to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was ousted and replaced as heir to the throne by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) in a 2017 palace coup. The sources had said that Jabri has access to sensitive information that MbS fears could be compromising.

Jabri’s family said in a statement tweeted by his son Khalid that Jabri’s son-in-law, Salem Almuzaini, was summoned on Monday to a Saudi state security offices where he was arrested.

“His arrest and disappearance are the latest acts of reprisal and intimidation by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince … against Dr. Jabri for his filing of a Torture Victim Prevention Act claim in U.S. federal court,” the statement said.

The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Almuzaini’s arrest.

Jabri, who has lived in Canada since late 2017, earlier this month alleged in a lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia that Crown Prince Mohammmed sent a team to kill him in 2018 but that the effort was foiled by Canadian authorities.

READ: Bin Salman ordered hit squad to kill former official, claims lawsuit 

The alleged incident took place less than two weeks after Saudi agents murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, sparking a global furore. MbS has denied ordering Khashoggi’s killing but said he ultimately bore “full responsibility” as the kingdom’s de facto leader.

Riyadh has not publicly commented on Jabri’s lawsuit.

The family statement said Almuzaini had in 2017 been renditioned by Saudi authorities from Dubai emirate in the United Arab Emirates, but was released in January 2018 after reaching a “settlement” and placed under a travel ban.

Since then, the statement said, he had been “used by Saudi state security as a means to communicate and exert the Kingdom’s influence on Dr. Jabri’s family”.

Bin Nayef himself was detained on March 6 along with two other senior royals in what sources have said was the latest in a series of extraordinary measures by MbS to sideline rivals and remove perceived threats to his eventual succession as king.

A source close to bin Nayef said his family had not had any details on his health and detention conditions for several months. The government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on bin Nayef’s status.

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