Saudi Man Critical Of Royal Family Claims Saudi Gov’t Tried To Kidnap Him In US
Abdulrahman Almutairi claims that a suspected agent of the Saudi government attempted to kidnap him on American soil due to his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to The Daily Beast.
The 27-year-old is a “comedian and former student at the University of San Diego with a big social-media presence,” the outlet reported, and after he used his platform to criticize the Crown Prince over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, the government tried to take him out of the U.S.
Sources told The Daily Beast that “an unidentified Saudi man accompanied Almutairi’s father on a flight to collect Almutairi against his will and bring him back to Saudi Arabia.”
Though the incident occurred more than a year ago, Almutairi has only recently spoken about it, after having spent many months fearing for his life.
The young man called police in late October 2018 after a source in Saudi Arabia told him his life was in danger.
“What happened next he would only learn from an FBI official he said he spoke with: Without Almutairi’s knowledge, his father flew to Los Angeles, and he wasn’t alone. Accompanying his father was someone Almutairi does not know,” The Daily Beast reported.
However, they never arrived in San Diego, as FBI officials were awaiting them at LAX, and both Almutairi’s father and the unidentified Saudi man were sent back to Saudi Arabia.
Almutairi was told about the incident after the two men were returned home.
“I was shown a picture of someone who came with my dad, who I didn’t recognize,” he said, and though he cannot verify it, Alumtairi believes the man worked for the Saudi royal court.
The student eventually “was forced to drop out of school shortly before he was to graduate after the Saudis cut off his scholarship, his $1,800 monthly allowance, and his health insurance.”
Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings who investigated the Khashoggi murder, said kidnappings are “part and parcel of the way the Saudi government has operated for many years.” She also said she is familiar with Almutairi’s story and believes it is credible.
“Absolutely, they will keep trying to lure people in the United States. The only reason why they haven’t succeeded is because the U.S. intelligence agencies are doing their job,” Callamard said.