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Al-Jabri family pleads with Saudi authorities for information on 'kidnapped' siblings

Khalid al-Jabri asks Saudi ambassador to US whether his brother and sister, Omar and Sarah, detained since March, are still alive
In March, Jabri's two adult children - who had been barred from leaving the kingdom - were arrested at their Riyadh home.
In March, former Saudi intelligence official Saad al-Jabri's two adult children - who had been barred from leaving the kingdom - were arrested at their Riyadh home (Twitter)
By MEE staff in Washington

The son of former Saudi intelligence official Saad al-Jabri has pleaded with the kingdom's ambassador to the US to investigate whether his two siblings, who were arrested without charge earlier this year, are still alive.

"Can you tell me if my siblings, Sarah and Omar, are still alive? They were kidnapped by Saudi govt agents 5 months ago," Khalid al-Jabri said on Twitter on Tuesday in a series of tweets directed at Reema bint Bandar al-Saud.

"Sarah and Omar have done nothing wrong, nor have they been accused of wrongdoing. If they are alive, they are being held hostage in an illegal and immoral Saudi govt effort to force their father to return to Saudi Arabia, where he and they cannot expect justice," he said.

Khalid's father Saad al-Jabri has been living in exile since June 2017 after his former boss, Mohammed bin Nayef, was ousted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), his younger cousin, in a palace coup.

'If they are alive, they are being held hostage in an illegal and immoral Saudi govt effort to force their father to return to Saudi Arabia'

- Khalid al-Jabri

Jabri and other family members were in Turkey when they heard the news. Sarah and Omar tried to leave the kingdom but were stopped at the airport and banned from travel. 

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As first reported by Middle East Eye, MBS has spent years trying to coax Jabri into returning to the kingdom. In March, authoritites detained two of his adult children and his brother, prompting accusations by relatives and US officials that they were being held hostage to secure Jabri's return.

Khalid, a Toronto-based cardiologist, said he was told by a "western journalist" that his siblings were being held at the maximum-security al-Ha'ir Prison, where women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been imprisoned.

He called on the Saudi ambassador to confirm whether his siblings were indeed detained at the facility.

"Sarah and Omar have not been seen or heard from since being siezed by govt security forces in March. There has been no official explanation about their forced disappearance or confirmation of their whereabouts. This is shameful, inhumane and heartbreaking."

Jabri files lawsuit

Last week, Saad al-Jabri filed a lawsuit against MBS, accusing the crown prince of ordering a hit squad to assassinate him on US and Canadian soil.

On Friday, a US court issued a summons for MBS to appear in response to the lawsuit.

Jabri, who is characterised in the suit as a "trusted partner of US intelligence officials", claims MBS dispatched a 50-person kill team dubbed "the Tiger Squad" in October 2018 - just two weeks after the murder of Saudi dissident and Middle East Eye columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saad al-Jabri: The Saudi who could bring down Mohammed bin Salman
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"The 'Tiger Squad' that was deployed to Canada included forensic personnel experienced with the clean-up of crime scenes, who carried with them two bags of forensic tools," the lawsuit alleges. "The kill team was thwarted by attentive Canadian border security officials who were suspicious of their behavior at an airport checkpoint."

The lawsuit marks the first time a former senior Saudi official has publicly accused MBS, the kingdom's de facto ruler, of carrying out a campaign to silence critical voices.

Since deposing bin Nayef three years ago, MBS has centralised power and targeted any and all perceived foes and potential opponents. He's arrested several members of the royal family, including his uncle Prince Faisal bin Abdullah al-Saud, the son of the late King Abdullah.

MEE reported in March that four members of the Allegiance Council had been targeted by MBS. Three members had been either jailed or questioned, while a fourth obtained nationality from Cyprus in a bid to escape.

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