Khashoggi murder proves Saudi authorities 'lie about torture', al-Qaeda convict argues

Khashoggi murder proves Saudi authorities 'lie about torture', al-Qaeda convict argues
A man convicted of al-Qaeda membership has lodged a legal appeal, arguing that Jamal Khashoggi's murder proves Saudi authorities lie about torture.
2 min read
03 October, 2019
Abu Ali was convicted of attempting to assassinate George W. Bush in 2005 [Getty]
A man serving life in prison for joining al-Qaeda and plotting to assassinate former President George W. Bush says his sentence should be vacated because the murder of Jamal Khashoggi shows Saudi Arabia lies about the brutality of its security services.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was convicted in 2005 for providing material support to the extremist group and conspiracy to assassinate the then president.

But a key piece of evidence was a confession he gave in Saudi custody, which was shrouded in controversy.

Human rights organisations have alleged that Abu Ali's arrest and subsequent extradition to the US was actually a case of US "extraordinary rendition".

He claims his confession was tortured out of him by Saudi Arabia's internal security agency, which has often been accused of torture and widespread rights abuses by rights organisations.

Abu Ali's defence also demonstrated physical evidence of alleged torture at his trial, but the judge sided with the prosecution which argued the marks on his back were discolourations rather than scars.

Saudi agents who testified at his trial denied the torture allegations.

In a motion filed on Wednesday in a Virginia court, Abu Ali's lawyer argued that the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was evidence that Saudi security forces lie about the mistreatment they inflict.

Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Khashoggi's murder.

The US-based royal insider-turned-critic was killed by a team of Saudi agents when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His body has never been found.

Saudi authorities initially denied any knowledge of Khashoggi's death, spinning multiple tales until they eventually acknowledged some weeks after the murder that the journalist had been killed within the consulate.

To this day, the kingdom claims the murder was perpetrated by a "rogue" team, but both the United Nations and the CIA have said it is highly likely the killing was ordered by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Lies by Saudi officials about Khashoggi's death, Abu Ali's lawyer argued, illustrate that the agents who testified at his 2005 trial may also have lied about Abu Ali's alleged torture.

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