Saudi Arabia had “absolutely nothing to do” with the National Enquirer’s reporting on an extramarital relationship involving Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, the kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs said. Bezos on Thursday accused American Media Inc (AMI), the Enquirer’s owner, of trying to blackmail him with the threat of publishing “intimate photos” he allegedly sent to his girlfriend unless he said in public that the U.S. tabloid’s reporting on him was not politically motivated. He also referenced media reports about alleged links between AMI and Saudi Arabia.
A U.N. human rights expert said Thursday that Saudi Arabia undermined Turkey’s efforts to investigate the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which she described as a “brutal and premeditated killing” planned and carried out by Saudi officials. Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made her assessment Thursday after visiting Turkey. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. His remains have not been found.
An 18-year-old woman detained in Thailand after fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and renouncing Islam will not be sent back to the Middle East against her wishes, Thai officials have said. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun barricaded herself inside a transit zone hotel room in Bangkok airport to prevent immigration officials putting her on a flight to Kuwait. Qunun says she would be killed if she was returned to Saudi Arabia and has vowed not to leave the hotel room until she can see representatives from the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.
Saudi prosecutors sought the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Thursday as their trial began in Riyadh, Saudi Press Agency reported. The trial comes three months after the Washington Post columnist and Saudi royal family insider-turned-critic was killed and allegedly dismembered at the consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi.
Netflix faced criticism Wednesday from human rights groups for pulling an episode in Saudi Arabia of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” series that criticized the kingdom’s powerful crown prince. The American comedian used his second episode, released Oct. 28, to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led coalition at war in Yemen. Human rights group Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia’s censorship of Netflix is “further proof of a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression.”
Saudi Arabia called US resolutions to end military aid for a coalition in Yemen and to blame the kingdom’s crown prince for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi ‘interference’ based on ‘untrue allegations.’ Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Sunday that his government is seeking to leave a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
In a historic vote the US Senate decided to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war on Thursday also agreeing to blame the Saudi crown prince for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The vote was a rare bipartisan rebuke reflecting anger with the Trump administration’s handling of Saudi Arabia relations.
The US Senate decided on Wednesday to end military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the war in Yemen in a move that defies President Trump. Lawmakers will push for sanctions against the Saudi kingdom. Eleven Republicans joined Democrats to achieve the majority necessary for the decision. Trump has threatened to veto the move.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said ‘we do not extradite our citizens’ in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s demand in the case of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder suspects. Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people in the murder. Turkey issued arrest warrants for the suspects after requesting extradition on Wednesday.
After a private CIA briefing on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing South Carolina, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he had ‘high confidence’ that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder. Graham described the Saudi crown prince as ‘crazy.’ Senators urged President Trump to condemn the killing following the initial White House response.