A New York Times report from over the weekend claims that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a major crackdown of his political foes that includes multiple instances of kidnapping and torturing dissidents.
The report, which was based on the accounts of two U.S. officials who have read U.S. intelligence analyses of the Saudi government, claims that the kingdom has taken on at least a dozen operations against dissidents over the past two years, and that most of them took place before the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.
In many cases, Saudi operatives kidnapped Saudi women’s rights activists who were living abroad and brought them back to the kingdom so they could be tortured and threatened with rape.
Saudi Arabia has denied that the crown prince ordered any such operations and it has told the New York Times that it “takes any allegations of ill-treatment of defendants awaiting trial or prisoners serving their sentences very seriously.”
The crown prince is an ally of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has worked to cultivate ties with the Saudi government ever since becoming a top White House adviser in 2017.