Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a covert campaign to silence dissidents more than a year before the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported Sunday.
American officials, with knowledge of classified reports, told The Times that the group of activists Khashoggi had killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October had conducted several other missions against dissidents.
According to the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, members of the team were involved in at least a dozen operations from 2017 onwards.
The missions included the forced repatriation of Saudis from other Arab countries and the detention and ill-treatment of prisoners, the Times reported.
A spokesman The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington told The Times that the kingdom "is taking all allegations of mistreatment of defendants awaiting trial or prisoners who oppose their imprisonment very seriously" agents as part of a survey that went off the track. You said that the perpetrators are being prosecuted for the incident.
Saudi Arabia, which is working against dissidents, is not new, but efforts escalated to Prince Mohammed, who became crown prince in 201
"We never have seen it on such a scale. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst now at the Brookings Institution, told The Times. "A dissident like Jamal Khashoggi in the past would not have been worth the effort."