WASHINGTON — A former top Saudi Arabian spy says the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dispatched a feared team of mercenaries to kill him while in exile in Canada.
In an interview with US broadcaster CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Saad Aljabri — formerly a top spy and interlocutor between the kingdom’s intelligence services and Western governments — alleges he was targeted after he fled the country following a 2017 power grab by the crown prince.
A friend at a Middle Eastern intelligence service, he says, warned that he could face a fate similar to that of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who investigations have alleged was murdered by a Riyadh-linked death squad after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
“The warning I received, don’t be in a proximity of any Saudi mission in Canada. Don’t go to the consulate. Don’t go to the embassy… You are on the top of the list,” Aljabri tells “60 Minutes.”
He says the team arrived in Canada in October 2018 — only to be deported when they lied to customs officials and were found to be carrying suspicious items.
“I have to speak out. I am appealing to the American people and to the American administration to help me to release those children and to restore their life,” says former Saudi spy Saad Aljabri. Two of his children are being detained in Saudi Arabia. https://t.co/JdbNcOVKrN pic.twitter.com/oyQXTXCvkK
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 24, 2021
AFP is unable to independently verify Aljabri’s claims, and requests for comment to the Canadian foreign ministry went unanswered.
But Canadian officials tell “60 Minutes” they were “aware of incidents in which foreign actors have attempted to… threaten… those living in Canada,” describing the threats as “completely unacceptable.”