Why Is MBS Harassing the Family of Saudi Intelligence Chief Who Fought Al-Qaeda?

Published May 27th, 2020 - 08:35 GMT
Why Is MBS Harassing the Family of Saudi Intelligence Chief Who Fought Al-Qaeda?
Omar al-Jabri, 21, and Sarah al-Jabri, 20 have been detained since March 2020. (Twitter: @alsab3aani)

A report by Human Rights Watch highlighted shocking news about recent detentions of adult children of the former Saudi intelligence chief, who has been self-exiled in Canada since 2017.

After having their assets frozen in 2017 and after being interrogated by the Public Prosecution several times, 21-years-old Omar Al-Jabri and 20-years-old Sarah Al-Jabri were reportedly detained last March by Saudi authorities, only 10 days after the detention of Mohammed Bin Nayef and another senior Saudi prince.

BBC interviewed their brother Khalid who lives with their father in Canada as he confirmed the news, saying that "Omar and Sarah were kidnapped at dawn, on March 16, and were taken out of their beds by about 50 state security officers who arrived in 20 cars."

According to HRW, all questions the two young children of Saad Al-Jabri had received were related to their father, who was a special aid to former Minister of Interior and Crown  Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef, who was ousted by Mohammad Bin Salman in the summer of 2017, in what has since been described as a "palace coup."

Al-Jabri's family believes that his two children and his brother, who has just been arrested this May, are being "held captive to coerce Saad back to the kingdom." 

Saad Al-Jabri is well-known to Western intelligence agencies mostly for his role in fighting terrorism. One Western expert told BBC that "Dr Al-Jabri transformed Saudi counter-terrorism efforts," says another former western intelligence official. He changed it from being a crude, violent, confession-based system into one that used modern forensics and computer-based data mining."

Arrests of Al-Jabri's family members might be linked to his connections with US and Western officials and the information he has in relation to current Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

This news, in addition to the well-known murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, continues to raise questions regarding MBS's policies since he assumed power in 2017, despite his efforts to represent himself as a "young radical reformist" of the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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