A journalist and writer in Saudi Arabia has reportedly died as a result of torture while in the regime custody as the conservative oil-rich kingdom grapples with an international crisis over the murder of prominent dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that Turki bin Abdulaziz al-Jasser lost his life due to severe torture he was subjected to during criminal investigations at a prison.
Saudi authorities claimed that Jasser administered the Twitter account Kashkool or @calouche_ar, which disclosed rights violations committed by high-ranking officials and members of the royal family.
Several sources have reported that Saudi authorities discovered Jasser’s real identity after a team of the kingdom’s cyber spies infiltrated the Twitter headquarters in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, as part of the so-called Saudi online army founded by Saud al-Qahtani, the former chief adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi authorities have tortured a former high-ranking official to death.
Qahtani is said to be the architect of a social media campaign against Muslim preachers, intellectuals and critics of the Riyadh regime.
Qahtani, who was fired after being blamed for Khashoggi’s murder, posted a tweet in August 2017, saying that fake names on Twitter would not protect those behind the accounts critical of the Saudi royal family.
Khashoggi went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul on October 2.
The sons of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed last month after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, plead to be able to collect their father’s body.
A senior Turkish official told the Washington Post on November 2 that the slain journalist’s body was destroyed in acid on the grounds of the Saudi consulate or at the nearby residence of the Saudi consul general.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said biological evidence discovered in the diplomatic mission garden supports the theory that Khashoggi’s body was disposed of close to where he was killed and dismembered.
“Khashoggi’s body was not in need of burying,” the official was quoted as saying.
Khashoggi, a distinguished commentator on Saudi affairs who wrote for The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section, had lived in self-imposed exile in the US since September 2017, when he left Saudi Arabia over fears of the Riyadh regime’s crackdown on critical voices.
His death has subjected the Riyadh regime and Mohammed bin Salman to strict scrutiny.
Hatice Cengiz, the journalist’s fiancée, has accused Saudi officials of a massive cover-up.