Saudi crown prince sent hit squad to Canada to kill former intelligence official, lawsuit claims

Saudi crown prince sent hit squad to Canada to kill former intelligence official, lawsuit claims
A team of hitmen was allegedly sent to Canada by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shortly after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
3 min read
06 August, 2020
Saudi authorities have accused Jabri of corruption [Getty]
Saudi Arabia's notorious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a hit squad to Canada to find and kill a former high-ranking intelligence official, a new lawsuit claims.

A team of mercenaries created by bin Salman and named the "Tiger Squad" was sent to target Saad al-Jabri shortly after the October 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the lawsuit filed in Washington D.C. alleges.

Jabri has lived in exile in Toronto, Canada, since 2017, when bin Salman ousted former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and took his post. Jabri is considered to have acted as bin Nayef's right-hand man, overseeing much of the kingdom's intelligence operations.

The former intelligence official has come under increasing pressure to return to the kingdom in recent months.

Saudi authorities accuse him of embezzling $11 million in state funds and have arrested two of his adult children and his brother in a bid to see him return to Riyadh.

A 106-page civil lawsuit filed by Jabri's lawyers on Thursday describes how the crown prince, widely known by his initial MbS, allegedly sent a team of hitmen to Canada.

Jabri has been targeted by MbS due to his knowledge of the crown prince and close relationship with Washington, the unproven lawsuit claims.

"Few places hold more sensitive, humiliating and damning information about defendant bin Salman than the mind and memory of Dr. Saad — except perhaps the recordings Dr. Saad made in anticipation of his killing," it reads according to CBC.

"That is why defendant bin Salman wants him dead, and why defendant bin Salman has worked to achieve that objective over the last three years."

The crown prince first sent threats to Jabri in an attempt to pressure him to come home, the lawsuit claims.

After a series of text messages threatening to "take measures that would be harmful to you" failed to elicit Jabri's return, MbS "dispatched a hit squad to North America to kill Dr. Saad", the lawsuit says.

The claim alleges bin Salman presides over a personal hit squad named the "Tiger Squad" whose members also were involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Members of the "Tiger Squad" flew to Toronto's Pearson Airport in October 2018, not long after Khashoggi's killing, the lawsuit alleges. 

The team carried "bags of forensic tools" and included "forensic personnel experienced with the cleanup of crime scenes — including an instructor in the exact same criminal evidence department as the forensic specialist who dismembered Khashoggi with a bone saw", the lawsuit claims.

They allegedly attempted to enter the country on tourist visas but all but one, who held a diplomatic passport, were denied entry to Canada.

Jabri claims Saudi authorities discovered his location in Canada through the use of a former colleague, Bijad Alharbi, who had earlier attempted to persuade him to travel to Turkey, where Khashoggi was killed.

The alleged assasination attempt failed but Jabri's lawyers say the former intelligence official is still in danger.

"Bin Salman now plans to send agents directly through the United States to enter Canada by land and, once and for all, eliminate Dr. Saad," the lawsuit claims.

In May, Human Rights Watch called on Riyadh to release Jabri's brother and children.

The New York-based rights organisation and Jabri say the fomer official's relatives were detained in March and are being held incommunicado in a bid to coerce him back to the kingdom to face punishment.

Former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, to whom Jabri was a senior aide, was also arrested in March this year. Authorities have accused the former intelligence chief of corruption and treason.

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