At least five Saudi royals have reportedly disappeared after they attempted to voice dissatisfaction with the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi who recently vanished upon entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khaled bin Farhan Al Saud, a dissident prince who lives in exile in Germany, told The Independent in an interview that the royals were grandsons of King Abdul-Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. He added that they had voiced dissatisfaction with Khashoggi’s disappearance in a meeting with the authorities in Riyadh last week.
The royals were promptly detained and their exact whereabouts are unknown, the dissident Saudi prince alleged.
Khashoggi, a journalist known for his critical views of the kingdom’s policies, went missing after reaching the diplomatic mission on October 2.
Turkey says it fears that he has either disappeared or been murdered.
President Erdogan’s advisor says everyone linked to the Saudi journalist’s suspected murder shall be prosecuted, even if it is the Saudi consul himself.
“Just five days ago, a group tried to visit King Salman, saying they were afraid for the future of the Al Saud family. They mentioned Mr Khashoggi’s case,” Prince bin Farhan said. “They were all put in jail.”
He further said Riyadh regularly tried to “lure” dissident royals into its diplomatic premises abroad, offering them financial incentives.
Prince bin Farhan said he believed this was part of an escalating crackdown orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to silence his critics.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the dissident Saudi prince said the authorities had tried to make him enter the facilities “over 30 times.”
Last time, they tried to prompt his family to bring him to the Saudi consulate in Cairo by promising them a “large cheque” and millions of dollars, just 10 days before Khashoggi’s vanishing.
He was told that the Saudi authorities had heard he was in financial trouble and “wanted to help”. They promised he would be safe, The Independent wrote in its report over the development.
“I know what can happen if I go into the embassy,” Khaled bin Farhan said.
Ghanem al-Dosari, a London-based Saudi satirist, verified bin Farhan’s account, saying dissident expats now feared travelling abroad, and some were even afraid of leaving their homes.