Khashoggi feared for life ‘after 400 messages were hacked’
JAMAL Khashoggi feared for his life after Saudi officials obtained hacked messages in which he planned an uprising against the regime.
In court documents filed yesterday, a fellow dissident and friend of the murdered journalist claims the work of an Israeli spyware company led to his death.
In the 400 WhatsApp messages which were allegedly hacked, the pair had planned to launch an online youth movement that could hold the state to account, Omar Abdulaziz said.
They intended to distribute foreign Sim cards so dissidents could criticise the regime on social media without fear of reprisals. When he discovered his plans had been leaked, Mr Khashoggi told Mr Abdulaziz: ‘God help us.’
The messages also described the country’s de facto ruler Prince Mohammad bin Salman as a ‘beast’ and ‘Pac-Man’ who would devour anything in his path.
In another message, Mr Khashoggi, 59, told of how the country’s ruler loved ‘force’ and ‘oppression’. Such criticism could be considered treason in Saudi Arabia and punishable with death.
Months later, on October 2, Mr Khashoggi was murdered by a hit squad at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Mr Abdulaziz believes the hack played a ‘crucial’ role in his death. He is suing the spyware firm, NSO Group, for damages. NSO said the lawsuit was ‘completely unfounded’ and there was ‘no evidence’ its technology was used.