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Another dissident Saudi journalist reportedly tortured and killed

Rights group Prisoners of Conscience alleges Turki bin Abdul Aziz al-Jasser was tortured to death

ANOTHER dissident Saudi Arabian journalist and writer is reported to have been tortured and killed, having been held in custody for eight months.

Rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which reports on human rights abuses in the Middle Eastern kingdom, alleged in a social media post that writer Turki bin Abdul Aziz al-Jasser had died after suffering severe torture during interrogation.

It is believed that Mr Jasser was “forcibly disappeared” by Saudi authorities in March last year, after they claimed that he was behind the Twitter account Kashkool or @calouche_ar, which exposed human rights abuses committed by members of the royal family and other senior officials.

Sources allege that authorities discovered the identity of Mr Jasser after a team of spies infiltrated the Twitter headquarters in Dubai.

The spies were believed to be part of the Saudi Cyber Army established by Saud al-Qahtani, a former aide to Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. 

The “online army” was set up to harass government critics, including Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose brutal murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month triggered an international crisis for the reactionary regime.

Mr Qahtani, who had warned that fake Twitter names would not protect critics of the government from retribution, was sacked in October as part of the government’s damage limitation efforts.

It was alleged that he had previously attempted to lure Mr Khashoggi back to Riyadh and his dismissal was seen as a bid to deflect blame for the journalist’s murder away from the crown prince.

As international relations with Riyadh come under closer scrutiny, calls are growing for an end to the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen, which has brought that country to the brink of the world’s worst famine for 100 years.

However, despite widespread criticism, Britain and the US have stopped short of imposing sanctions and refuse to halt weapons sales to the kingdom.

Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights condemned the latest air strikes on the port of Hodeida yesterday and said the continuation of “immoral actions” by the Saudis and their allies exposed their “criminal intent to deliberately annihilate the Yemenis [and to] control and exploit strategic facilities.”

The ministry also lambasted the the targeting of civilians in their homes, calling such attacks “criminal practices.”

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