Over a year before the killing of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed-bin-Salman has approved a secret campaign to silent protestors, said sources on Sunday.
The secret campaign includes kidnapping, surveillance, torture and detention of Saudis, reads the report, which has cited the US Officials, who have gone through classified intelligence reports about the efforts. The US Officials has referred to it as the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group.
At least several clandestine missions were taken up by the team members, which killed and dismembered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, suggested his murder was a wider campaign against protesters, said the report, citing the US officials and associates of some Saudi victims.
The Khashoggi murder has generated global outrage, which also includes an order from US senators for President Donald Trump to designate and punishment to those, who are responsible. However, he didn’t comply.
The US senators have briefed by the heads of US intelligence agencies, claims they were convinced that the Saudi Crown Prince was responsible for the Journalist Khashoggi murder.
However, Saudi Arabia has stressed that the Crown Prince was not involved in the murder case.
Initially, it said that it had no information of Khashoggi’s fate but later has blamed rogue agents for his death.
Over Journalist Khashoggi’s murder, the public prosecutor of Saudi Arabia has charged a total of 11 people.
Among its activities, the involvement of the Rapid Intervention Group has been found in the detention and abuse of important women’s rights activist arrested in 2018, reports source.
The intervention group was quite busy that in June its leader has asked a top advisor to the Crown Prince whether he would offer them bonuses for Eid al-Fitr, a major holiday, which is celebrated at the end of holy month of Muslim, Ramadan.
Saudi officials have rejected to confirm or deny that any such team existed, or answer questions to sources about its work.
For comment, the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately reply to any query.
The Saudi Crown Prince has authorized the Rapid Intervention Group and further overseen by Saud al-Qahtani, which an insider royal court, added sources.
However, US intelligence reports could not details that how the Crown Prince was involved with the work of the group but claims that the operatives saw Qahtani as a ‘conduit’ to him, said the report.
Saud al-Qahtani has been sacked on Khashoggi’s murder but authorities of Saudi Arabia haven’t said if it was among those, who were charged. Five of the convict have already face the death penalty.