Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been accused of sending a hit-squad to Canada in order to kill a former Saudi intelligence official. The failed plan to kill Saad al-Jabri was soon after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, court documents filed in the US allege. Mr Jabri, a veteran of the government of Saudi Arabia, fled into exile three years ago.
Yemeni Houthi forces hit a large oil facility in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Jizan in drone and missile attacks overnight, a Houthi military spokesman said on Monday. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis said earlier it had intercepted and destroyed four missiles and six explosive drones fired by the Houthis over the border towards Saudi Arabia.
The trial of 20 Saudi nationals charged with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi opened in an Istanbul courtroom on Friday, and his fiancée hopes the case will offer new clues to the whereabouts of the dissident journalist’s remains. Ankara has repeatedly called for the suspects to be extradited and tried in Turkey where the crime took place. Riyadh has not complied with the request.
A Saudi official said Tuesday that the hajj pilgrimage, which usually draws up to 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world, will only see at the most a few thousand pilgrims next month due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. The kingdom’s Hajj Minister Muhammad Benten said a “small and very limited” number of people — even as low as just 1,000 from inside the kingdom — will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage.
The family of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi announced Friday they have forgiven his Saudi killers, giving legal reprieve to the five government agents who’d been sentenced to death for an operation that cast a cloud of suspicion over the kingdom’s crown prince. The announcement was largely expected because the trial in Saudi Arabia left the door open for reprieve by ruling in December that the killing was not premeditated.
Saudi Arabia is tripling its value added tax (VAT) as part of austerity measures to support its coronavirus-hit economy. The government in Riyadh also said it will suspend its cost of living allowance to shore up state finances. The kingdom first introduced VAT two years ago as part of efforts to cut its reliance on world crude oil markets.
Saudi Arabia has ended the death penalty for crimes committed by minors after effectively abolishing floggings, as the kingdom seeks to blunt criticism over its human rights record. The death penalty was eliminated for those convicted of crimes committed while they were minors, Human Rights Commission president Awwad Alawwad said in a statement, citing a royal decree.
Saudi Arabia put 184 people to death in 2019, the highest number Amnesty International has ever recorded in a single year in the country, despite Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s public commitment to reducing the number of executions. Amnesty International released a 59-page report Monday that found that while global executions last year hit a 10-year low, falling by 5 percent compared to 2018.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed a Yemeni man found guilty of attacking a Spanish dance troupe and wounding three people on stage before a stunned audience in the capital last year. The Interior Ministry identified the man as 33-year-old Yemeni national Emad Abdelqawi al-Mansouri. It marked the first such incidence of violence since the kingdom began loosening restrictions on entertainment around two years ago.
The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian. The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.