Khashoggi 'target of year-long Twitter death threats', Saudi activists say

Khashoggi 'target of year-long Twitter death threats', Saudi activists say
A fellow Saudi dissident, Omar Abdulaziz, began retweeting death threats made against Jamal Khashoggi over the last year to showcase Riyadh's campaign against the missing journalist.
3 min read
09 October, 2018
A man attends a rally carrying a Khashoggi poster [Getty]
The Canada-based Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz began retweeting on Tuesday a series of death threats issued against journalist Jamal Khashoggi dating back to November 2017, highlighting a troubling culture on Twitter among some Saudis that appears to condone violence against critics. 

Khashoggi, 59, went missing while on a visit to the consulate for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, but Turkish officials say he was likely murdered inside.

The Post released surveillance stills on Tuesday with a time and date stamp showing Khashoggi entering the Saudi consultate on 2 October. 

Riyadh has not released any evidence of the dissident leaving the premises and denies reports suggesting he was killed inside the consulate.

Among the many twitter users threatening Khashoggi over the last year was Abed Saad Alersgueni (@abadss093), chairman of the Popular Arts Committee and vice-chairman of the Cultural Committee in al-Kamel Governorate, who warned in February that the journalist's "end was near".

But everyday users as well as what appears to be bots have jumped into the fray and threatened the missing journalist. 

Translation: "I assure you that your end is close"

Translation: "I expect that his end is near" 

Translation: I hope the heads of traitors are attached to the head of the traitor [Nimr al-Nimr]. The sword is more honest than books. The homeland was not written but with blood and we will not allow or forgive who touches the country"

In a more ominous sign, Saudi spin doctor Saoud al-Qahtan, who is and adviser to the Royal Court and close to Mohammed bin Salman, tweeted last November that Riyadh was "reopening the assassination file". 

That tweet appeared to be directed at Saad alFagih, the London-based Saudi national who heads the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia and is a frequent critic of Mohammed bin Salman. 

Earlier this year, al-Qahtan, who is nicknamed Mr Hashtag, launched a twitter campaign targeting anyone showing sympathy with Qatar under the Arabic hashtag #TheBlacklist.

Qahtani vowed to "follow" every name reported via the social media site, and tweeted that anyone who "conspires" against Saudi Arabia would be unable to escape "trial".

Anwar Gargash, the UAE's state minister for foreign affairs, was one of the first to express support for the blacklist, tweeting: "Saud al-Qahtani is an important voice ... and his tweet on the 'blacklist' is extremely important".

Following Khashoggi's disappearance on 2 October, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Twitter that if reports about his death were confirmed "this would constitute a horrific, utterly deplorable, and absolutely unacceptable assault on press freedom".

Since becoming de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a sweeping crackdown on opponents and arrested scores. 

Among them are at least 11 journalists who are currently being detained.

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