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Saudi dissident sues Twitter for hacking that led to killing, torture of activists

August 27, 2020 at 9:28 am

Twitter logo [Mehmet Kaman – Anadolu Agency]

A US-based Saudi opposition activist and co-founder of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington DC, Ali Al- Ahmed said yesterday that he will sue Twitter over a 2016 hack that led to the killing and torture of many activists who had reported human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, the Business Insider reported.

According to the report, Al-Ahmad filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of New York demanding compensation from Twitter, alleging that many of those exposed have since been killed or tortured.

“It is very distressing, and it really hurts me greatly because I know some of them have died, many have been tortured, and remain behind bars,” he told the news site.

A spokeswoman for Al-Ahmed told the Business Insider that “there were dozens at least who were in direct contact with Ali and have gone missing as a result of those identified from his Twitter account.”

Last July, Al-Ahmed’s lawyer, David Schwartz, said: “Twitter is responsible for several of al-Ahmed’s contacts being arrested and tortured by the GSA [government of Saudi Arabia].”

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

According to Al-Ahmed, one of those killed is Abdullah Al-Hamid, the founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, a human-rights group in the kingdom. He died in Saudi state custody in April.

Last month, US prosecutors charged Ahmad Abouammo and Ali Al-Zabarah, who worked for Twitter between 2013 and 2016, with spying for a foreign government.

The Saudi nationals were accused of passing the personal information of accounts critical of the Saudi government to the kingdom’s intelligence agencies. They pleaded not guilty to the charges in November.