Saudi agents threatened to take me into custody, says Khashoggi’s daughter

Alaa AlAbeid says her father was pressured into signing document giving location of his wife, who later died after being denied treatment

The daughter of a former Saudi government official has said that Saudi agents threatened to take her into custody and kidnap her by force to obtain information about her father’s wife who died after a protracted illness.

Alaa AlAbeid, 33, claims she received a telephone call from a man claiming to be an agent of the state intelligence service who warned her to give up the location of her mother.

The former Saudi intelligence chief and current Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the country’s heir apparent, was forced to leave the kingdom for several days last month after some Saudi officials investigated a security breach in Istanbul in which Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate.

Alaa AlAbeid (@AbeidAlAbeid) It’s all about my mom. They threaten me and take me to prison and kidnap me and threaten to make a video with her saying I poisoned her or something. They want me to give them information about my mom because she’s sick.

She received the call on 3 October – just days after Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul.

Alaa AlAbeid’s allegation, which she made in an interview with Saudi-owned, pan-Arab station Al-Arabiya, is based on a Facebook post and a tweet sent to her from an undercover Twitter account purported to be of a Saudi intelligence officer.

“This man has told me if you don’t come and give them your mother’s location and how to call her from here, he will release this guy and take you to prison,” the online message said, according to the account in her daughter’s post, which was addressed to the “Brother Emir” of the UAE.

The account, which says it is run by a Saudi secret service employee, has not been verified.

The message follows several claims by Alaa AlAbeid over the past few weeks – all supported by other family members – that her father – once a royal guard member with Prince Mohammed – has received threats from powerful Saudi princes and officials.

The Saudi foreign ministry, which has been accused of playing down Khashoggi’s murder, said on Monday that it had launched an investigation in which more than 1,500 people would be questioned.

Alaa AlAbeid said her father’s life had been threatened before but added that this was the first time she was being threatened with arrest or a kidnapping attempt.

“He doesn’t have the option to go back to Saudi Arabia because if he does, they will use that as a casus belli,” Alaa AlAbeid said, referring to the term for a pretext to launch an armed attack against another country.

“So he gave the email address of his lawyer to the committee for the inquiry and it has three representatives,” she said. “The committee was formed to investigate what happened and to know the facts.”

Prince Mohammed, the Saudi Crown Prince, ordered the investigation into the Khashoggi murder last month after the intelligence and defence minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, handed written answers to the committee’s questions regarding the journalist’s killing, the Saudi royal court said on Sunday.

The committee will probe the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death, including who ordered the operation to retrieve him in Istanbul and the legal status of the two Saudi nationals who worked with CIA agent James Brennan to organise the operation, who have both been charged with murder.

In addition, the committee will investigate the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death and interrogation and report its findings to the crown prince, who will appoint a commission to interview the intelligence officer who led the mission and pave the way for his arrest.

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The 15-man squad was dispatched to Istanbul to retrieve Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city. He has not been seen since entering the consulate on 2 October.

The crown prince’s office on Sunday denied reports that the first deputy minister for the Royal Court, Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Takheer, had left the kingdom.

“It’s not true that the deputy minister for the Royal Court has left the country,” the statement said.

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