Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist from Saudi Arabia went into a self-imposed exile to the United States one year ago when the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman started his widespread crackdown on dissenters.
The Washington Post columnist went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, to get some papers for his marriage and never returned.
After three weeks of denial, the oil-rich country accepted that Khashoggi was indeed killed but said that the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) had no knowledge of the ‘rogue operation’ by 15 high profile Saudi officials who flew to Turkey the same day Khashoggi went to the consulate. However, a CIA report later said that MBS ordered the killing of the journalist.
According to the Washington Post report, some members of the 15 people hit squad, received training in the U.S. which might have been conducted by Tier 1 Group, an Arkansas-based company.
The training was conducted under a State Department license and was a part of the wider defense and intelligence partnership between the U.S. and the kingdom. The training has not resumed since Khashoggi’s murder.
Another intelligence project developed by Culpeper National Security Solutions with help from some prominent former CIA officials, involved Ahmed Assiri, the Saudi deputy chief of intelligence. He is currently being investigated by Saudi Arabia for his alleged involvement in the murder.
Many of these partnerships are suspended and the future of U.S.-Saudi relationship is “on hold.”
Another leaked medical report from Saudi Arabia revealed the severe abuse political prisoners are subjected to in the country. The report, meant for the Saudi King Salman, said that the prisoners are suffering from malnutrition, cuts, bruises, and burns.
Obtained by The Guardian, the report has documented evidence of brutal physical abuse of prisoners despite the kingdom’s denial of such.
“The patient suffers from severe burns throughout the body. Old wounds were not completely healed because of medical negligence,” the report said about one of the patients.
The reports will be handed over to the King along with recommendations to release prisoners with serious health conditions.
The kingdom is under continuous international pressure regarding its handling of political prisoners, especially since Khashoggi’s murder. King Salman has recently ordered a review of a decision to arrest around 200 men and women despite objections from MBS.
The leaked report also urged the government to transfer prisoners from solitary confinement to a medical center. “The patient has difficulty walking because of a number of bruises visible on the legs area. A number of injuries are also visible on the forearm and lower back area. Malnutrition and obvious dryness on the skin” revealed the report.
“Saudi detainees including women activists have alleged that authorities mistreated them with unspeakable cruelty, including electric shocks, whippings, and sexual harassment, and new revelations of medical reports appear to confirm what they have said for months,” said a Human Rights Watch spokesperson.